Would you consider stealing and conning evil or neutral actions?I'm having an argument with my DM about this, and i'd like to here you oppinionThanks

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Would you consider stealing and conning evil or neutral actions?
I'm having an argument with my DM about this, and i'd like to here you oppinion

Thanks
That's a hard question to answer 100% yes or 100% no.  It depends on who is being stolen from, and what your end goals are.  Without getting into a really heavy argument over ethics, a good test is to ask "Who is going to benefit from this - me or someone else?"

If you are stealing or conning to prevent harm to someone else, that is likely justified.  If you are just trying to get more loots for yourself, that is likely evil.  If you are stealing and conning from other members of the party then that is a whole different mess, which can really derail a game unless the whole group agrees that they want to play that kind of game.
I heard that they are making a new video game, where you control the Netherese flying citadel of Sakkors, raining death on your helpless enemies below. Working title: Mythal Command.
I would have to admit that yes, it is entirely self-motivated thievery adn exploitation, but the character also performs unarguably good deeds outside of regular society while on quests, etc... my question is more whether it makes the character evi or not.
Got any examples?

What are you stealing?
From whom are you stealing?
Why are you stealing this from them?

Btw, imho, doing good and evil things doesn't make a character neutral. It makes him an evil character who does good because he thinks that he can repay his evil that way.
I would have to admit that yes, it is entirely self-motivated thievery adn exploitation, but the character also performs unarguably good deeds outside of regular society while on quests, etc... my question is more whether it makes the character evi or not.

I agree that few actions are inherently evil in a vacuum, but in general, selfish actions are evil. As Mysteria stated, you aren't neutral by doing both good and evil deeds. What is the character's overall motivation for these actions? It sounds like the character is performing the good deeds to either assuage some guilt, or else be a cover for his more nefarious (love that word) deeds.

Without more information, I'd say the character is evil with neutral tendancies. Now, if (s)he is doing robin hood-style actions, where (s)he is restricting the thefts to evil targets only, and then using the money to benefit others, then I'd say it's a good character with neutral tendancies.

Alignment is more about motivation than outward actions.

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watch that show leverage, all they do is con and steal but they're all good people. as long as what you're doing is nonviolent and fairly victimless i would concede it to be at the very worst unaligned.
you've all given me alot to think about, I suppose that it's basically motivation not the action.
Thanks all
   You lose.  Your DM is right. 

   Now what was the question?

   Morality?   Just about any action judged either can be found to be the reverse if we add the right additional facts.  So we are in a rather endless argument.  It is the DM's job to resolve such and so he by definition rules on whether the act is evil or good.

    The presumption here very much is that the actions described can be deemed evil.

   
Also remember that unaligned in 4e includes doing selfish things.  Evil is supposed to represent the "evil to the core" archtype.

From what you describe I'd clearly put your character in unaligned.  A cad, and not nice person.  But unaligned. 
The idea that any person is evil without intentionally bringing harm to others for either nefarious or selfish reasons is completely absurd, imo.

Your character is neutral at worst. Theivery isn't evil, it's just crappy.


And DMs are often wrong. Being DM doesn't make them right. It just makes them the guy with the highest hard of cards.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
So, stealing the food from a famished family whom you know will die if their food is stolen is ... not evil? Imho, thievery can very well be evil.

(And don't get too hung up on the example. The point is: Steal X = You know thing Y will happen. Thing Y = evil. So Stealing X is also evil.)
 As has been said, you can steal for lots of reasons; swiping the ritual scroll that will let Glphorgywp The Vile summon a Pit Fiend into his service so it can be sent to terrorize the countryside is certainly not an evil act, but swiping the handful of silver a family has saved up to pay their taxes and keep their home is.

As such, that means the act of stealing ITSELF has no 'alignment component'.  I wouldn't even say it's unaligned, it's more of a nonentity.  The why matters a lot more than the what.

And if nothing else, 4e alignment has no mechanical component, so it really doesn't matter what alignment you are outside of divine matters.  I don't even have players pick one; it's irrelevant, and I think WotC should have removed the last vestigial remnants of alignment with 4e.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
  the act of stealing ITSELF has no 'alignment component'.  I wouldn't even say it's unaligned, it's more of a nonentity.  The why matters a lot more than the what.


   To steal something, somebody else must have a desire and a title to the property.  So by definition, stealing harms the other party.  We can dream up the exception [You steal the poisoned bottle of booze the owner is about to drink...], but our default is that the owner is harmed by the thief.
    Our default is also that the owner is harmed more than the thief is benefited.  Otherwise the thief could just buy the item from the owner.  Again we can dream up exceptions, but we have to prove the exception.  Our thief is default an evil action.
  the act of stealing ITSELF has no 'alignment component'.  I wouldn't even say it's unaligned, it's more of a nonentity.  The why matters a lot more than the what.


   To steal something, somebody else must have a desire and a title to the property.  So by definition, stealing harms the other party.  We can dream up the exception [You steal the poisoned bottle of booze the owner is about to drink...], but our default is that the owner is harmed by the thief.
    Our default is also that the owner is harmed more than the thief is benefited.  Otherwise the thief could just buy the item from the owner.  Again we can dream up exceptions, but we have to prove the exception.  Our thief is default an evil action.



Yeeaaaaaah, no, I don't really buy it.  Just because you're harming someone doesn't mean you're doing something wrong, particularly in the realm of D&D where the correct response to 'there are goblins raiding caravans' is typically 'go beat them up'.  If the possessor of an item (rightful owner or no) is going to do harm with it, it ain't evil to get it out of his ownership.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.

What is a good definition of morality for D&D?  In the default it is generally okay to go beat up or kill "the bad guys".  But that does not mean that all D&D campaigns have to be ran that way.  So the requirement is more that you need some level of agreement between all the participants at the table.  Morality arguments in RPG's seldom go well.

As far as disagreeing with your DM, the DM is not always right.  If effective resolution is not possible and the matter causes you to not enjoy the game then, I have found it effective to find some other more enjoyable way to spend ones free time.


What is a good definition of morality for D&D?  In the default it is generally okay to go beat up or kill "the bad guys".  But that does not mean that all D&D campaigns have to be ran that way.  So the requirement is more that you need some level of agreement between all the participants at the table.  Morality arguments in RPG's seldom go well.

As far as disagreeing with your DM, the DM is not always right.  If effective resolution is not possible and the matter causes you to not enjoy the game then, I have found it effective to find some other more enjoyable way to spend ones free time.




The good news is, it doesn't matter much.  It's not like the PC can get screwed out of class features or anything like that anymore.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
  the act of stealing ITSELF has no 'alignment component'.  I wouldn't even say it's unaligned, it's more of a nonentity.  The why matters a lot more than the what.


   To steal something, somebody else must have a desire and a title to the property.  So by definition, stealing harms the other party.  We can dream up the exception [You steal the poisoned bottle of booze the owner is about to drink...], but our default is that the owner is harmed by the thief.
    Our default is also that the owner is harmed more than the thief is benefited.  Otherwise the thief could just buy the item from the owner.  Again we can dream up exceptions, but we have to prove the exception.  Our thief is default an evil action.



Yeeaaaaaah, no, I don't really buy it.  Just because you're harming someone doesn't mean you're doing something wrong,


    The proper wording is "...doesn't Necessarily mean...".  When you are harming someone, you are default doing something evil and need to justify it.  Sometimes you can, but you are still the one that needs to prove it.  Feel free to consult just about any moral code from just about any society.  They largely say the same thing, that harming and stealing is evil and wrong. 
     Consider simple efficiency.  We have a society without robbery.  You can leave all your possessions just about anywhere because nobody will take them.  We have a society of robbers.  Now you must put everything under lock and key or lose it, and it costs money to make all those locks.  Everybody in our society of robbers is worse off because of robbery, even if they do a lot of robbery themselves.


particularly in the realm of D&D where the correct response to 'there are goblins raiding caravans' is typically 'go beat them up'.


     But note our goblins were stealing, meaning we are merely preventing their evil. 


 If the possessor of an item (rightful owner or no) is going to do harm with it, it ain't evil to get it out of his ownership.


    That there are exceptions has already been noted.  There are also exceptions to the exceptions to the exceptions to the...  To the case suggested, how do you know he is going to do evil?  Frequently those making such decisions prove to be highly biased on the point, deeming pretty much anything that does not benefit them as evil.  Then there is the question of how much you must do to prevent how much evil.  And the question ...
In the heroic fantasy world of D&D, you can of course take a look at how various thieves were portrayed in fiction, and for the few "good" ones, what was used to justify their actions and keep the audience on side.

One type of habitual thief in fiction might be the "Loveable Rogue": tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Love...

Unfortunately, many players use "Unaligned" alignment, and the "thief" class or training in thievery as justifications as to why their character should steal as a matter of course. Stealing from others without regard to impact is an evil act in my opinion.




So, stealing the food from a famished family whom you know will die if their food is stolen is ... not evil? Imho, thievery can very well be evil.

(And don't get too hung up on the example. The point is: Steal X = You know thing Y will happen. Thing Y = evil. So Stealing X is also evil.)



When Y is equal to intentionally or knowingly bringing harm to an innocent person for selfish or nefarious purposes, then Y is evil.

There are circumstances wherein theft is specifically a good act, therefor, theft itself is alignment neutral.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
  the act of stealing ITSELF has no 'alignment component'.  I wouldn't even say it's unaligned, it's more of a nonentity.  The why matters a lot more than the what.


   To steal something, somebody else must have a desire and a title to the property.  So by definition, stealing harms the other party.  We can dream up the exception [You steal the poisoned bottle of booze the owner is about to drink...], but our default is that the owner is harmed by the thief.
    Our default is also that the owner is harmed more than the thief is benefited.  Otherwise the thief could just buy the item from the owner.  Again we can dream up exceptions, but we have to prove the exception.  Our thief is default an evil action.



You therefor posit that punching someone (even on the arm, so long as it is hard enough to hurt) is an evil act.

That, sir, is absurd. It is also a logical conclusion using the reasoning required by your argument.

Also, theft if often a case of the theif benefiting more than the owner is harmed.

People steal cheap stuff all the time. Poor theives don't only steal what they need, and poor people aren't the only theives. Broad generalizations rarely accurate.

Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome

When Y is equal to intentionally or knowingly bringing harm to an innocent person for selfish or nefarious purposes, then Y is evil.

    Now this statement is full of weasel words.  Ignoring them, we get Y [thief] brings harm to the victim [or else there would be no need to steal] and is thus evil. 

There are circumstances wherein theft is specifically a good act, therefor, theft itself is alignment neutral.


    This argument proves entirely too much.  It says that everything is alignment neutral and makes the definition worthless.  So we must say that the possibility that a given evil/good act can be used for good/evil can not be used to justify/condemn the general case.  We judge by the general case, not the exceptions, and call our thief evil, leaving the thief to prove otherwise in any particular case.

When Y is equal to intentionally or knowingly bringing harm to an innocent person for selfish or nefarious purposes, then Y is evil.

    Now this statement is full of weasel words.  Ignoring them, we get Y [thief] brings harm to the victim [or else there would be no need to steal] and is thus evil. 

There are circumstances wherein theft is specifically a good act, therefor, theft itself is alignment neutral.


    This argument proves entirely too much.  It says that everything is alignment neutral and makes the definition worthless.  So we must say that the possibility that a given evil/good act can be used for good/evil can not be used to justify/condemn the general case.  We judge by the general case, not the exceptions, and call our thief evil, leaving the thief to prove otherwise in any particular case.



choosing to ignore words which change the nature of the argument makes any response to the argument invalid.

Try again.



And no, we don't. We judge individual actions, not types of actions. With very few exceptions, the morality of an action is determined by the circumstances of the individual act.

Theft is alignment neutral. Stealing to feed a sick relative when it's the only way to be sure that person gets fed is specifically good aligned. Steeling from that same person, knowing that they could well starve without what you stole, is evil.

Those "weasel words" are what determine the moral value of an action.

Theft isn't evil. Killing isn't evil. Lying isn't evil.

Moral valuative determination requires some combination of action, intent, result and expectation of result.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome

When Y is equal to intentionally or knowingly bringing harm to an innocent person for selfish or nefarious purposes, then Y is evil.

    Now this statement is full of weasel words.  Ignoring them, we get Y [thief] brings harm to the victim [or else there would be no need to steal] and is thus evil. 

There are circumstances wherein theft is specifically a good act, therefor, theft itself is alignment neutral.


    This argument proves entirely too much.  It says that everything is alignment neutral and makes the definition worthless.  So we must say that the possibility that a given evil/good act can be used for good/evil can not be used to justify/condemn the general case.  We judge by the general case, not the exceptions, and call our thief evil, leaving the thief to prove otherwise in any particular case.



choosing to ignore words which change the nature of the argument makes any response to the argument invalid.


   The ignored words are simply ways to confuse the discussion.  They are are also frequently loaded terms.


And no, we don't. We judge individual actions, not types of actions. With very few exceptions, the morality of an action is determined by the circumstances of the individual act.


    Tell it to the judge.  Ignoring the circumstances that define the action, cricumstances are of only minor importance.  [If it were otherwise, it would be one of the circumstances that define the action.]

Theft is alignment neutral.


     You seem to have a defective definition of "neutral" here.  It does not mean "undetermined".  It means neither good nor evil.  It is as determinated as good or evil.  It is merely located near 50-50 instead of 100 or zero. 


 Stealing to feed a sick relative when it's the only way to be sure that person gets fed is specifically good aligned. Steeling from that same person, knowing that they could well starve without what you stole, is evil.


     Relative, your relative, in other words a selfish action, and what you want to condemn in your definition.  Then we had the additions of "sick" and "only".  "Sick" seems to be added just as a sympathy attractor.  And "only" effectively negates the case.  There just are not many, if any, cases where this is the only option.  It would rarely be more than the most convenient.  So you are trying to make a moral case based on the very rare exception, a method about guaranteed to produce bad results.
     Stealing that might cause the victim to starve is somehow evil?  But would not be if he would not starve?  Now how do you, a mortal outsider [and thus ignorant], actually know whether or not he would starve? 
    And why would it matter.  He is still harmed by the theft and that harm is still default evil.  The fact he won't starve is merely mitigation, not an absence of guilt. 
    Recall here that we are talking moral principle, not just your individual actions.  If you can rob him, so can others, which means that even if your own robbery will not cause him to starve, the others might, meaning the moral principle must condemn even the smaller robbery.

Those "weasel words" are what determine the moral value of an action.


    Why?  Why are they major elements that determine the morality of the action?  What does "nefarious" mean here?  Besides "I don't approve of this motive."?

Theft isn't evil. Killing isn't evil. Lying isn't evil.


    This seems to confirm my point.  The argument proves too much and classifies everything as "neutral", which makes the classification useless.

  

Moral valuative determination requires some combination of action, intent, result and expectation of result.


    Which does not prevent us from stating certain actions are evil so routinely that we classify the exceptions as quibbling.  Such is theft.
DBW: The way you argue, I'd still not call thievery neutral/unaligned. I'd call it 'no alignement until you look at the context'.
DBW: The way you argue, I'd still not call thievery neutral/unaligned. I'd call it 'no alignement until you look at the context'.



This.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
No, Stealing and Conning fall on the Chaos vs Law spectrum, not the Evil vs Good spectrum.  Compare Robin Hood (Chaotic Good).  Another perfect example is the Pretender (for those familiar with the series) who was an expert Con Artist who did it to help people and punish criminals, which also falls under Chaotic Good.
DBW: The way you argue, I'd still not call thievery neutral/unaligned. I'd call it 'no alignement until you look at the context'.




That was my point. That's why I said "alignment neutral" rather than "neutral aligned." Thievery isn't evil.


Hell, I would say that selfish theft isn't evil most of the time. Jacking a cd from a walmart is only evil if your definition of evil is so Kantian that you should be living in a monastary.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome

    This seems to confirm my point.  The argument proves too much and classifies everything as "neutral", which makes the classification useless.

  

Moral valuative determination requires some combination of action, intent, result and expectation of result.


    Which does not prevent us from stating certain actions are evil so routinely that we classify the exceptions as quibbling.  Such is theft.



How are you not getting it?

Those actions are not, themselves, evil. Defining theft as evil is silly, because it can easily be shown that it can be the opposite.

If you do something with an evil intent, or the expectation of an evil result, it's evil. If you do something with a good intent, or the expectation of a good result, it's good.

Actions, by themselves, are not good or evil.

And no, I never auto-classify actions. I always judge actions based on all the available data.

Because that's the reasonable, adult thing to do.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
And here we have another fine example of why alignment should have been flushed down the toilet a decade ago ...
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
And here we have another fine example of why alignment should have been flushed down the toilet a decade ago ...



you win the internet
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome

    This seems to confirm my point.  The argument proves too much and classifies everything as "neutral", which makes the classification useless.

  

Moral valuative determination requires some combination of action, intent, result and expectation of result.


    Which does not prevent us from stating certain actions are evil so routinely that we classify the exceptions as quibbling.  Such is theft.



How are you not getting it?

Those actions are not, themselves, evil. Defining theft as evil is silly, because it can easily be shown that it can be the opposite.


    Which essentially amounts to saying nothing can be defined as evil because with any action, we can add additional facts that reverse the moral meaning. 

 

If you do something with an evil intent, or the expectation of an evil result, it's evil. If you do something with a good intent, or the expectation of a good result, it's good.


   But you just said, "Moral valuative determination requires some combination of action, intent, result and expectation of result."  So now you are saying that action and result are irrelevant.  Which of your statement is wrong?
    The presumptive answer is both. 
    Your more recent statement is the easier to show this.
    The basic problem is that you can never be sure of intent.  That is a subjective fact the actor can easily lie about, or simply forget.  So a moral system that depends heavily on intent is going to be heavily unable to decide on whether a given action is moral or not.
    Then there is the problem that you still have not defined good or evil.  What makes an intent evil?  If we define it as the intent to harm someone, then we can define actions as evil on the same basis since a great many actions do harm people.

Actions, by themselves, are not good or evil.


    That of course depends on how you define actions. 

And no, I never auto-classify actions. I always judge actions based on all the available data.


   You in fact never judge actions based on all the available data.  The amount of available data simply is too massive for you to even come close to doing so.  You must judge the vast majority of available data as irrelevant or otherwise disqualified.  So you are basing your decision on only part of the data.  No way around it.
    And you need to make most decisions pretty fast.  There is another, and another, and ... coming along right after it.  If you carefully consider each case, you will simply have to decide most cases by inaction.  You simply must adopt rules that allow quick decisions that are usually right rather than try for a carefully reasoned decision that will be announce long after everybody has lost interest.
DBW:

Ah - I mistook neutral as neutral as defined by last edition.
I didn't read the last four pages worth (wouldn't help, this isn't a thread which divulges actual information, this is all personal opinion anyway) but my own opinion:

Stealing isn't EVIL, it's immoral, but at some point, you can only do so many immoral things before you actually ARE evil (seriously, you want to see evil people who've never murdered, raped or pillaged? Watch 'it's always sunny in philadelphia', funny as all hell, but the characters are SO evil).

Good doesn't offset evil, doing good usually just means there are people who'd probably stand by and support you if you were caught for committing something like theft, but it doesn't make you good. If I saved someones life, or the life of a family member, they'd probably stand by me and support me if I went to court for something as bad as instigating fights and beating normal people like crazy.

I still remember watching a documentary about a family that got conned by a guy who opened a small family business kind of bank and used it to steal their life savings, the woman (whose family were the victims) was saying on the interview that people always make a fuss about murder but think white collar crimes aren't so bad and that this theft had her family selling much of what they owned to make ends meet since they already had debt to deal with.

I was saying that stealing isn't evil, it's immoral, but I'd say it's closer to neutral evil (though that alignment doesn't exist in 4e), but a manageable form of neutral evil. You wouldn't for instance stab your group members in the night and make off with their goods, but you're not a properly functioning member of society.

Besides, who cares if it's evil or not? Just make your character chaotic evil, there's no detect evil, no prerogative that states you MUST be a hindrance to your group just because you're evil, NO mechanical downside to being evil and your character can be evil in his own way without hindering the campaign. Heck, be a mind flayer who's out to make some wealth in the real world rather than sit around in boring cities with the same boring octopus heads that like to cackle insanely by day and skulk around by night, reluctantly compromising by not eating the brains of sentient creatures (Fred, put that kid down!), perhaps knuckling under the lesser races is offensive and annoying but there's more cash to it than staying in the stuffy cities and you get to indulge in sick fantasies where you copulate with humans and elves rather than your illithid kin.

All this stigma around having the evil alignment is based WAY too much on the fear that your character's going to murder his party members. I had a lawful evil monk back in 3e, who was only evil in the sense that he was extremely supportive of governments, law and order even if the current law supported slavery and frequently used violence against the people, otherwise he was a completely loyal and functional part of the group.
I'm a grad student in philosophy, so maybe I can offer a perspective on this. Here's how I would want to break this issue down.

If you steal something from a thief, and give it back to the rightful owners, this is a good act. Examples might be: stealing something that was stolen, extorted, or taken unjustly by a tyrant. This is the basis of the Robin Hood legend: he steals from corrupt aristocrats and their henchmen who have imposed heavy taxes and levies on the villagers.

(An exception might be, if the rightful owner is also evil and will use his property to cause harm to others. For example, awizard hires the PCs to steal an artifact from a rival, which the rival had stolen from him; and then the PCs find out their employer is evil, and will use the artifact to murder people or something. Then a good PC might keep the artifact, destroy it, or find a safer owner for it.)

If you steal something that you don't rightfully own, and keep it for yourself because you have no way of figuring out who the real owner is, then it's a neutral act. A good character can do this when there's genuinely no way to find the original owner.

If you keep it for yourself because the original owner won't miss it in a serious way, then it's certainly not a good act. I would count it as an extremely minor act of "evil" that doesn't necessarily tip someone out of their alignment in and of itself, but is worth making a note of, especially if it becomes a habit. If the PC routinely keeps spoils that "won't be missed", I would take that as cause to bump them out of Good and into Unaligned at best.

If you steal something from someone who needs it, or keep spoils you know the original owners need at least as much as you do, I would count that as evil. If the PC made a habit of it, I would bump them from Unaligned into Evil. In this case, the PC is acting with disregard for the people who are hurt by his actions.

This is the way I would rule at my table, anyway! Hope this helps!

    This seems to confirm my point.  The argument proves too much and classifies everything as "neutral", which makes the classification useless.

  

Moral valuative determination requires some combination of action, intent, result and expectation of result.


    Which does not prevent us from stating certain actions are evil so routinely that we classify the exceptions as quibbling.  Such is theft.



How are you not getting it?

Those actions are not, themselves, evil. Defining theft as evil is silly, because it can easily be shown that it can be the opposite.


    Which essentially amounts to saying nothing can be defined as evil because with any action, we can add additional facts that reverse the moral meaning. 

 

If you do something with an evil intent, or the expectation of an evil result, it's evil. If you do something with a good intent, or the expectation of a good result, it's good.


   But you just said, "Moral valuative determination requires some combination of action, intent, result and expectation of result."  So now you are saying that action and result are irrelevant.  Which of your statement is wrong?
    The presumptive answer is both. 
    Your more recent statement is the easier to show this.
    The basic problem is that you can never be sure of intent.  That is a subjective fact the actor can easily lie about, or simply forget.  So a moral system that depends heavily on intent is going to be heavily unable to decide on whether a given action is moral or not.
    Then there is the problem that you still have not defined good or evil.  What makes an intent evil?  If we define it as the intent to harm someone, then we can define actions as evil on the same basis since a great many actions do harm people.

Actions, by themselves, are not good or evil.


    That of course depends on how you define actions. 

And no, I never auto-classify actions. I always judge actions based on all the available data.


   You in fact never judge actions based on all the available data.  The amount of available data simply is too massive for you to even come close to doing so.  You must judge the vast majority of available data as irrelevant or otherwise disqualified.  So you are basing your decision on only part of the data.  No way around it.
    And you need to make most decisions pretty fast.  There is another, and another, and ... coming along right after it.  If you carefully consider each case, you will simply have to decide most cases by inaction.  You simply must adopt rules that allow quick decisions that are usually right rather than try for a carefully reasoned decision that will be announce long after everybody has lost interest.




Available data refers to that data which the pertinent entity can access and use.

You're using word games to try to cover you obviously silly arguments.

I do not determine that a physical attack is bad simply because it is a physical attack. In fact, sometimes I don't even make a judgment on it until after I've acted.

As someone who has been in a number of dangerous situations, I can tell you that one need not make a moral judgment in order to react appropriately to a large person bearing down quickly on you with an obviously violent intent. You may determine later that he was justified, but you still deliver a quick kick to his upper thigh to stop his momentum, with an even quicker light jab to the nose to disorient and then immediately go on the offensive.

Making moral snap judgments is usually what a person does when they are too intellectually lazy to do otherwise.


And what I'm saying with the first quoted bit is that...wait, actually yes. That is precisely what I'm saying.

You finally understand the basic premise of relativistic morallity. That is, that actions do not have moral weight except as defined by circumstance. There is no "the default of this action is X." Such a default is purely and fundamentally illusory.

Congratulations, you have learned 2 philosophy.

Have a cookie.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
DBW:

Ah - I mistook neutral as neutral as defined by last edition.



No worries. I could have used a different word, I just didn't think about the alignment context when typing that sentance.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome

    This seems to confirm my point.  The argument proves too much and classifies everything as "neutral", which makes the classification useless.

  

Moral valuative determination requires some combination of action, intent, result and expectation of result.


    Which does not prevent us from stating certain actions are evil so routinely that we classify the exceptions as quibbling.  Such is theft.



How are you not getting it?

Those actions are not, themselves, evil. Defining theft as evil is silly, because it can easily be shown that it can be the opposite.


    Which essentially amounts to saying nothing can be defined as evil because with any action, we can add additional facts that reverse the moral meaning. 

 

If you do something with an evil intent, or the expectation of an evil result, it's evil. If you do something with a good intent, or the expectation of a good result, it's good.


   But you just said, "Moral valuative determination requires some combination of action, intent, result and expectation of result."  So now you are saying that action and result are irrelevant.  Which of your statement is wrong?
    The presumptive answer is both. 
    Your more recent statement is the easier to show this.
    The basic problem is that you can never be sure of intent.  That is a subjective fact the actor can easily lie about, or simply forget.  So a moral system that depends heavily on intent is going to be heavily unable to decide on whether a given action is moral or not.
    Then there is the problem that you still have not defined good or evil.  What makes an intent evil?  If we define it as the intent to harm someone, then we can define actions as evil on the same basis since a great many actions do harm people.

Actions, by themselves, are not good or evil.


    That of course depends on how you define actions. 

And no, I never auto-classify actions. I always judge actions based on all the available data.


   You in fact never judge actions based on all the available data.  The amount of available data simply is too massive for you to even come close to doing so.  You must judge the vast majority of available data as irrelevant or otherwise disqualified.  So you are basing your decision on only part of the data.  No way around it.
    And you need to make most decisions pretty fast.  There is another, and another, and ... coming along right after it.  If you carefully consider each case, you will simply have to decide most cases by inaction.  You simply must adopt rules that allow quick decisions that are usually right rather than try for a carefully reasoned decision that will be announce long after everybody has lost interest.




Available data refers to that data which the pertinent entity can access and use.


    But again, that available data is far more than the entity can possibly process.  And of course, "available" has sharply different meanings, depending on circumstances.  So our pertinent entity must also decide what is the proper definition.  Does he have time to google "morally correct"?  Sometimes he will, and sometimes not.

You're using word games to try to cover you obviously silly arguments.


    Then it should be no problem for you to expose those errors, and to identify them instead of just claiming there are such errors.

I do not determine that a physical attack is bad simply because it is a physical attack. In fact, sometimes I don't even make a judgment on it until after I've acted.


     On the contrary, you do, and did.  You may well have made the general moral judgment long before the actual situation, and hardly considered it consciously at the actual time, but you do make a variety of moral judgments about that physical attack, and that will routinely include the judgment that the physical attack is bad.

As someone who has been in a number of dangerous situations, I can tell you that one need not make a moral judgment in order to react appropriately to a large person bearing down quickly on you with an obviously violent intent. You may determine later that he was justified, but you still deliver a quick kick to his upper thigh to stop his momentum, with an even quicker light jab to the nose to disorient and then immediately go on the offensive.


    "Go on the offensive"?  Now assuming you did not mistype, that is distinctly likely to be immoral.  Self defense does not mean "attack until the other guy is dead."  You may only do so until the other guy is no longer an immediate threat, and the very concept of your going on the offensive means he is not.  Legally and morally you face a high standard of proof before you may go on the offense instead of going on the defense.
    Now our D&D PC can often meet this standard.  The stunned opponent is just about certain to attack as soon as he can.  But for your standard street or bar encounter, there can be no such presumption, and going on the offensive means you are no longer defending yourself, you are just brawling, and can go to jail for some time if the judge is in a bad mood.
   

Making moral snap judgments is usually what a person does when they are too intellectually lazy to do otherwise.


    Now who, other than you, has talked about snap judgments?  Each and every judgment has only a finite, and routinely inadequate, time to be made in.  Talking about a judgment system that involves more time than that is simply asking for the Moon.


 There is no "the default of this action is X." Such a default is purely and fundamentally illusory.


    Such a default is also highly useful.  It saves one from having to answer the same questions over and over again and getting the same answers.  Take our case of stealing.  We find few cases where the thief has good motives, and even fewer where it had good results.  It is pretty much a waste of valuable time we don't have to ask if random thief X was justified.  He almost certainly wasn't.


Available data refers to that data which the pertinent entity can access and use.


    But again, that available data is far more than the entity can possibly process.  And of course, "available" has sharply different meanings, depending on circumstances.  So our pertinent entity must also decide what is the proper definition.  Does he have time to google "morally correct"?  Sometimes he will, and sometimes not.

You're using word games to try to cover you obviously silly arguments.


    Then it should be no problem for you to expose those errors, and to identify them instead of just claiming there are such errors.

I do not determine that a physical attack is bad simply because it is a physical attack. In fact, sometimes I don't even make a judgment on it until after I've acted.


     On the contrary, you do, and did.  You may well have made the general moral judgment long before the actual situation, and hardly considered it consciously at the actual time, but you do make a variety of moral judgments about that physical attack, and that will routinely include the judgment that the physical attack is bad.

As someone who has been in a number of dangerous situations, I can tell you that one need not make a moral judgment in order to react appropriately to a large person bearing down quickly on you with an obviously violent intent. You may determine later that he was justified, but you still deliver a quick kick to his upper thigh to stop his momentum, with an even quicker light jab to the nose to disorient and then immediately go on the offensive.


    "Go on the offensive"?  Now assuming you did not mistype, that is distinctly likely to be immoral.  Self defense does not mean "attack until the other guy is dead."  You may only do so until the other guy is no longer an immediate threat, and the very concept of your going on the offensive means he is not.  Legally and morally you face a high standard of proof before you may go on the offense instead of going on the defense.
    Now our D&D PC can often meet this standard.  The stunned opponent is just about certain to attack as soon as he can.  But for your standard street or bar encounter, there can be no such presumption, and going on the offensive means you are no longer defending yourself, you are just brawling, and can go to jail for some time if the judge is in a bad mood.
   

Making moral snap judgments is usually what a person does when they are too intellectually lazy to do otherwise.


    Now who, other than you, has talked about snap judgments?  Each and every judgment has only a finite, and routinely inadequate, time to be made in.  Talking about a judgment system that involves more time than that is simply asking for the Moon.


 There is no "the default of this action is X." Such a default is purely and fundamentally illusory.


    Such a default is also highly useful.  It saves one from having to answer the same questions over and over again and getting the same answers.  Take our case of stealing.  We find few cases where the thief has good motives, and even fewer where it had good results.  It is pretty much a waste of valuable time we don't have to ask if random thief X was justified.  He almost certainly wasn't.



Available data refers to that data which the pertinent entity can access and use. What about that statement is difficult to comprehend?

I'll help you. It means that available data only includes the data that a person can make use of in the amount of time which that person has to make use of data. Anything else is not available until later, if at all.

No, I don't make that judgement ahead of time. I fight back against an aggressor because it is natural to do so, and because I am selfish enough to value my well being above whatever that person might be using to justify the attack. As I said, the person may be justified in their attack, but that's irrelevant. I'm still going to fight back, even if I know before the attack that it's justified.

The point is, when someone attacks me, I don't care (at all) whether they're in the right or not. I only care that I am being attacked, and therefor must defend myself.

And it is completely justified to go on the offensive against an attacker. Going on the offensive doesn't mean that you will continue to attack after it is no longer necessary in order to keep the attacker from harming you. To say that someone must use passive/purely defensive fighting techniques to defend themselves, rather than strikes and aggressive takedowns, is completely absurd.



Determining the truth instead of making assumptions is almost never a waste of time.
Pretending that there are moral defaults for actions is illogical, and will lead you to making the wrong judgements.

When you see two people or groups ingaged in violent action against eachother, you do not bother trying to figure out who is in the wrong. You simply attempt to diffuse the situation and stop the violence as quickly as possible, and save judgement for later, when there is more time.

Morallity is not absolute, automatic or easy. Each act must be judged individually in order for judgement to be just.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome

Morallity is not absolute, automatic or easy. Each act must be judged individually in order for judgement to be just.



While I agree with most everything else you said, this part I'd disagree with. While morality is not absolute, judgment must sometimes be streamlined to act as a deterrent. If, say, you have a country ripe with theft and banditry, it may be sound to go ahead and punish the man who stole some money to give to the poor. Aside from the dangers of vigilantism (would you really want outlaws running around acting in a way THEY think is righteous?), you wouldn't want thieves and would-be thieves getting emboldened by a perceived lenience in the system.

HOWEVER, in a country where crimes aren't all that high, yes, there is an excellent opportunity for morality in judgments.

Take Luskan (sp?)(forgotten realms area), I'm not sure how bad the situation is, but it struck me as a city of criminals, if crime is so bad you have well established gangs, then courts need to go on the offensive and start showing a real crackdown on crime. There NEEDS to be a zero tolerance policy, while I agree that it is immoral because a few innocent people will get caught up in the tide, an entire city is dependant on this strictness.

Morallity is not absolute, automatic or easy. Each act must be judged individually in order for judgement to be just.



While I agree with most everything else you said, this part I'd disagree with. While morality is not absolute, judgment must sometimes be streamlined to act as a deterrent. If, say, you have a country ripe with theft and banditry, it may be sound to go ahead and punish the man who stole some money to give to the poor. Aside from the dangers of vigilantism (would you really want outlaws running around acting in a way THEY think is righteous?), you wouldn't want thieves and would-be thieves getting emboldened by a perceived lenience in the system.

HOWEVER, in a country where crimes aren't all that high, yes, there is an excellent opportunity for morality in judgments.

Take Luskan (sp?)(forgotten realms area), I'm not sure how bad the situation is, but it struck me as a city of criminals, if crime is so bad you have well established gangs, then courts need to go on the offensive and start showing a real crackdown on crime. There NEEDS to be a zero tolerance policy, while I agree that it is immoral because a few innocent people will get caught up in the tide, an entire city is dependant on this strictness.



But there's a false assumption there. You're assuming that you cannot first arrest, and then judge.

Crack down on crime, sure. But once arrests are made, be careful in your judgment of guilt or innocence, and if guilt cannot be proven, let the arrested party go.

A reputation for imprisoning or even executing innocent people won't turn criminals into law abiding citizens. It will turn them into violent dissidents.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
People play pretty fast and loose with the word "evil", and they really shouldn't.  The 3.x Book of Vile Darkness states (and I don't have it right in front of me at the moment, so forgive me if this isn't word-for-word), in pretty much the opening paragraph, that evil isn't "misunderstood" or "mischevious"; evil is "black-hearted, wicked, cruel, and intentionally malicious".  The swindler who short-cons people out of money isn't "evil" -- he's just a jerk.  You know what I mean?  Thieves aren't "evil" just because they steal things, etc.
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