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Death dealer
16th January 2008, 7:34 PM
I think one of the main themes of this debate:
http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=286132,
was whether punishment is meant as a deterrant and necessary means to a better society, or as a form of justice in itself.
I will still stand by my position that punishment for punishment's sake is nothing more than sadism, acheiving nothing other than harming another creature, however I am sure many will come and challenge that.
What I think is the best analogy for this kind of thing is a man, who has comitted a terrible crime in room 1), walks into room), where you stand. You have a peice of torturing equiptment (big stick, barbed whip etc.), which you may use to punish him before he moves on to room 3). In room 3), he will commit the same terrible crime again, whatever punishment you used upon him. Is it moral to punish the man in room 2), or is it immoral?

mrdurp4
16th January 2008, 7:51 PM
all punishment does is cause anger to fester inside the person. which sooner or later the person will release it in the form of viloence.

Death dealer
16th January 2008, 8:17 PM
all punishment does is cause anger to fester inside the person. which sooner or later the person will release it in the form of viloence.

So there should be no punishment, and people should simply be able to get away with anything without any consequences? However nice it may sound, society would collapse if that ever happened. The amount of rights violated would be higher ina punishment-less society than in one that accepted it.

PhQnix
16th January 2008, 8:35 PM
The situation you pose in your original post is difficult to deal with but falls down within the real world as no one could know, with absolute certainty, the future actions of the criminal. When the criminal enters the second room the proper course of action is to try and guide him and help him. Punishment is merely one of a number of actions designed to try and help change an 'evil' person into a person who can function well within society.


So there should be no punishment, and people should simply be able to get away with anything without any consequences?
Perhaps excessive punishments should stop. The key is too get the prisoner to realise that they have committed an act worthy of punishment, if they don't they will become angry.

Punishment should be doled out in accordance with fair and just laws, however it should be combined with rehabilitation techniques to help the criminal.

Death dealer
16th January 2008, 8:38 PM
The situation you pose in your original post is difficult to deal with but falls down within the real world as no one could know, with absolute certainty, the future actions of the criminal. When the criminal enters the second room the proper course of action is to try and guide him and help him. Punishment is merely one of a number of actions designed to try and help change an 'evil' person into a person who can function well within society.

I understand, but that is besides the point of the scenario. It would never happen in real life, no, but can be used to gain ideas about whether it would or not be moral to do "X".

I assume you believe that punishment is a means?

PhQnix
17th January 2008, 12:00 AM
I understand, but that is besides the point of the scenario. It would never happen in real life, no, but can be used to gain ideas about whether it would or not be moral to do "X".
I understand the point of the scenario but, in my opinion, it is frivolous. Personally my morals are situational and the context in which an action occurs is important when determining if an action is moral. But debating that detracts from the true point of you debate.


I assume you believe that punishment is a means?
Yes, anything else is pointless isn't it?

Death dealer
17th January 2008, 1:40 AM
I understand the point of the scenario but, in my opinion, it is frivolous. Personally my morals are situational and the context in which an action occurs is important when determining if an action is moral. But debating that detracts from the true point of you debate.


Yes, anything else is pointless isn't it?

Well, If you want the whole thing told in a simpler way, I could say "do you think that punishment is a means or an end?" which I did. Scenarios like this just illustrate the question much better and get around people who misunderstand the question on its own.

The_Panda
17th January 2008, 8:56 AM
I agree with Death Dealer. Punishment should only ever be handed out if it actually helps prevent more wrongdoing. Punishment for the sake of punishment itself is cruel, sadist and to the bone unnecessary - the phrase "two wrongs don't make a right" springs immediately to mind. If we are to deal out pain to others, let it actually be for a reason, and a good reason for that matter.

Conquistador
17th January 2008, 9:27 AM
^ I agree with that, but then one must ask;
Is it right to make an instance of a person (and their crime) by punishing them severely, perhaps even more severely than had the crime been widespread?

The_Panda
17th January 2008, 9:33 AM
Is it right to make an instance of a person (and their crime) by punishing them severely, perhaps even more severely than had the crime been widespread?

No, it wouldn't be right to punish them any more severely. Because beyond that point, you are causing more pain than they did. The question arises of who is more guilty, from the question of who caused the most pain.

Conquistador
17th January 2008, 10:04 AM
It really comes down to "do the ends justify the means?"

For example, would its be ok to execute a murder if it did (hypothetically) prevent any other murder from being comitted in the future?

The_Panda
17th January 2008, 10:08 AM
would its be ok to execute a murder if it did (hypothetically) prevent any other murder from being comitted in the future?

That's a game of weighing up probabilities with consequences.

Conquistador
17th January 2008, 10:26 AM
Exactly, that question really cannot be answered.

The_Panda
17th January 2008, 10:45 AM
Exactly, that question really cannot be answered.

That's what philosophers are for.

Conquistador
17th January 2008, 11:05 AM
To spend there lives not answering unanswerable questions.

Oh the life.

The_Panda
17th January 2008, 11:19 AM
To spend there lives not answering unanswerable questions.

Oh the life.

The point of philosophers is so we don't have to waste our time on such questions, we can get somebody else to do it for us. Talk about a couch potato.

I have a few nice little dilemmas to propose, which are very much linked to the thread. Consider three different but similar scenarios. In each scenario, you must do one of two things, and ONLY those two things. In addition, what is given as ALL the information given and no further information will be given, the answer must be based ENTIRELY on the information given.

1. You are a train driver, and the train is going at such as speed that it cannot be stopped. On the tracks ahead, there is one person tied to the tracks. There is no way this person can be saved, he will be killed if the train continues along that line. However, the train can be diverted onto another line. But on this line, there are three people tied to it, and like the other one they CANNOT be saved. Would you change the line, or keep it on its original course?

2. You see a child drowning in a pond. However you also happen to have wearing a pair of extremely expensive silk trousers. You could jump in the pond to save the child, but this would ruin the trousers. Would you save the child or keep the trousers?

3. You are a surgeon at a hospital, and there are five patients who need organ transplants IMMEDIATELY or they will die. As it turns out, each needs only one organ donated and each of the patients require a different organ. The problem being their are no organs to donate. But as it turns out, there is a perfectly healthy man in the waiting room with all the required organs. Would you seize this man, kill him, and donate the his organs to the patients - thus killing one to save the five?

On another note, dilemma three has a rather ingenious solution which I did not include. Even though by the rules of asking these dilemmas you can only answer what is laid out for you to answer, it is still a mind enriching activity to try think of this solution.

PhQnix
17th January 2008, 11:33 AM
Situation 1: Keep a straight course and kill one rather than three.

Situation 2: Trousers off? Or is that a no go area with kids =P ... save the child obviously.

Situation 3: Killing the healthy man is wrong, in terms of numbers it is probably right but the hand of fate has given each of these people a different destiny and the acceptance of such luck is the best way to go.

I can see why these ethical situations are interesting but i'm struggling to draw parallels with regard to punishments, enlighten me please?

Conquistador
17th January 2008, 11:38 AM
What if, say, the three people tied to the train tracks are mass murderers and the other one a doctor who has saved countless lives.

Or, perhaps, what if the healthy man is a terrorist, to kill many people in not too distant future, and the three dying people volunteers at the soup kitchen.

How about then?

The_Panda
17th January 2008, 11:38 AM
Humanity are so good at making an answer to something and formulating an opinion, but when it comes to actually looking at the thought process we're not so ingenious. If you want I'll ask more moral dilemmas, and you may see a pattern develop. The point of asking those dilemmas was not to see whether you value a child over a pair of trousers (though it would be a worry if you did the inverse), but as an exercise to look at our morality. The point is to look for a pattern in your answers and explain it with a rule.


What if, say, the three people tied to the train tracks are mass murderers and the other one a doctor who has saved countless lives.

Or, perhaps, what if the healthy man is a terrorist, to kill many people in not too distant future, and the three dying people volunteers at the soup kitchen.

Learn to read.


what is given as ALL the information given and no further information will be given, the answer must be based ENTIRELY on the information given

Conquistador
17th January 2008, 11:40 AM
I never said that the decision maker knew these things.

The_Panda
17th January 2008, 11:43 AM
I never said that the decision maker knew these things.

In that case the question of who those people are is irrelevant. The point is to make a decision based on the information you have NOT on the information you don't have.

Conquistador
17th January 2008, 11:45 AM
In that case the question of who those people are is irrelevant. The point is to make a decision based on the information you have NOT on the information you don't have.

I was not answering the questions. The point of my post was to show how the problem of the scenario was how little knowlege one had about the situation, so is evident with so many scenarios throughout history.

Now, I have to be saying, we are going a fair bit off topic here.

The_Panda
17th January 2008, 11:58 AM
I was not answering the questions. The point of my post was to show how the problem of the scenario was how little knowlege one had about the situation, so is evident with so many scenarios throughout history.

As is the problem with seemingly every split second decision in life. If you're going to waste time with your philosophical mumblings in a situation, you're going to fail at life. I asked that you reply to the questions as if it was a situation you were in (hence the use of the second person), and what decision you would make on them. There's no "maybe". In life, you have to make a conscious decision when it comes to what you do in practice - why agnosticism fails as a life philosophy. You can't dwindle on as many possibilities as possible. Sure it would be nice if we could face every single question with such a logical approach as you do, but we simply can't.


Now, I have to be saying, we are going a fair bit off topic here.

The point of my questions is to demonstrate the Kant principle.

Death dealer
17th January 2008, 1:24 PM
The point of philosophers is so we don't have to waste our time on such questions, we can get somebody else to do it for us. Talk about a couch potato.

I have a few nice little dilemmas to propose, which are very much linked to the thread. Consider three different but similar scenarios. In each scenario, you must do one of two things, and ONLY those two things. In addition, what is given as ALL the information given and no further information will be given, the answer must be based ENTIRELY on the information given.

My own moral intuitions cannot work in some of these situations, but I will try and nswer as best as I can.


1. You are a train driver, and the train is going at such as speed that it cannot be stopped. On the tracks ahead, there is one person tied to the tracks. There is no way this person can be saved, he will be killed if the train continues along that line. However, the train can be diverted onto another line. But on this line, there are three people tied to it, and like the other one they CANNOT be saved. Would you change the line, or keep it on its original course?

To kill the three would be to kill 2 people effectively. It is all non consentual, so you apply pure utilitarian principles. If The three were wanting to take their own lives, then preventing them from doing so would be immoral, as would be killing the one, making killing 3 the wrong choice, but as you said there is no outside information so killing the one would have to be the most moral choice. Killing the one against their will is still immoral, but it is outweighed by the opposing option of killing three against their wills.


2. You see a child drowning in a pond. However you also happen to have wearing a pair of extremely expensive silk trousers. You could jump in the pond to save the child, but this would ruin the trousers. Would you save the child or keep the trousers?

Again, if the child was attempting suicide, then it would be wrong to save him/her until asked. However, you do not have any of that information, so it would be moral to save him/her. The drawback of having personal property damaged is outweighed by the will (not life) of the child to keep alive, which is what you shoudl assume of people you see dying (I will get ot that later).


3. You are a surgeon at a hospital, and there are five patients who need organ transplants IMMEDIATELY or they will die. As it turns out, each needs only one organ donated and each of the patients require a different organ. The problem being their are no organs to donate. But as it turns out, there is a perfectly healthy man in the waiting room with all the required organs. Would you seize this man, kill him, and donate the his organs to the patients - thus killing one to save the five?

I would ask for consent of all the people wanting organs, and then ask for the consent of the man. If at least 2 of the people needing organs sya they do not want to die, then it is moral to take the organs of the man, even if he does not consent. The wills of the patients outweigh the will of the man. It is still immoral to take the organs from the man, but even less moral than leaving two unconsenting patients to die. Note that if say, only two patients say they do not want to die, you only cure them, and not the patients who want to die.
If the man wants to die, then it is moral to remove his organs even if only one person wants to be cured, and use those organs on that person. If the man wants to die and there are no patients that want to live, then it is moral to let him kill himself, but donate no organs.
If both he wants to live, and only one patient wants to live, then it is a stalemate.
Panda, I assume asking for information is OK? I cannot see a way to solve this dialemna without knowing whether or not the people within it consent.


On another note, dilemma three has a rather ingenious solution which I did not include. Even though by the rules of asking these dilemmas you can only answer what is laid out for you to answer, it is still a mind enriching activity to try think of this solution.

Perhaps. I have done by best to answer them with my own moral intuitions, though I am not sure whether these will be the answers you want people to answer. I hope I have shown how my moral thought process works, which is the aim of these dialemnas anyway.

Ethan
17th January 2008, 6:34 PM
Wait...so were debating revenge?

daveshan
17th January 2008, 9:19 PM
I have a few nice little dilemmas to propose, which are very much linked to the thread. Consider three different but similar scenarios. In each scenario, you must do one of two things, and ONLY those two things. In addition, what is given as ALL the information given and no further information will be given, the answer must be based ENTIRELY on the information given.

1. You are a train driver, and the train is going at such as speed that it cannot be stopped. On the tracks ahead, there is one person tied to the tracks. There is no way this person can be saved, he will be killed if the train continues along that line. However, the train can be diverted onto another line. But on this line, there are three people tied to it, and like the other one they CANNOT be saved. Would you change the line, or keep it on its original course?Not going to play the "What if suicide?" game. So I'll just say that I'd change to the other track. I have no other reason other than, at the end of the day, I'd be able to say that I did something instead of just letting it happen. Don't read to deeply into that last sentence, it is what it is.



2. You see a child drowning in a pond. However you also happen to have wearing a pair of extremely expensive silk trousers. You could jump in the pond to save the child, but this would ruin the trousers. Would you save the child or keep the trousers? I'd take off the trousers. Not many people would care if you were naked when you saved a drowning child. That one's not a hard question, Panda.



3. You are a surgeon at a hospital, and there are five patients who need organ transplants IMMEDIATELY or they will die. As it turns out, each needs only one organ donated and each of the patients require a different organ. The problem being their are no organs to donate. But as it turns out, there is a perfectly healthy man in the waiting room with all the required organs. Would you seize this man, kill him, and donate the his organs to the patients - thus killing one to save the five?I wouldn't kill the one person. I'd let the others die and I can't imagine that there are too many doctors who would do otherwise.


On another note, dilemma three has a rather ingenious solution which I did not include. Even though by the rules of asking these dilemmas you can only answer what is laid out for you to answer, it is still a mind enriching activity to try think of this solution.
Let's see...
-I couldn't give them each other's organs because they could be vital ones.
-I couldn't give them my own because I don't know if there are other surgeons to do the transplant
-I could get the healthy man to donate something like half of his liver or one of his kidney's if he was willing at that was one of the needed organs
-I could ask the healthy man why he is in the hospital if he is healthy, that may lead to an alternative.
-I don't know if life support is available.

Nope, I give up. What's the other way, Panda?

Death dealer
17th January 2008, 10:07 PM
I'd take off the trousers. Not many people would care if you were naked when you saved a drowning child. That one's not a hard question, Panda

Damn, why are you so smart? Mind you, people might think you were a pedo. If I was just looking and didn't realise they were expensive, removing them would look a bit dodgy. Also, what if it took a long time to take them off, and the child was just about to drown?

daveshan
18th January 2008, 12:36 AM
Damn, why are you so smart? Mind you, people might think you were a pedo.They'd think I was a pedo until they saw that the boy was drowning, then they wouldn't care. Also, if there was anyone close enough to see me naked, other than the boy, why didn't they save his butt?


Also, what if it took a long time to take them off, and the child was just about to drown?He didn't say that it would take a long time to take them off. So that's moot.

The_Panda
18th January 2008, 5:50 AM
Panda, I assume asking for information is OK?

The point of the exercise was to give an answer where you ONLY could do it based on the information given... but depending on the situation asking for information is a good thing, but when it comes to the situations like the child and the train asking for information is a little hard lol.


Nope, I give up. What's the other way, Panda?

Since they all require different organs, wait till one dies then use those organs to save the other four.


I'd take off the trousers. Not many people would care if you were naked when you saved a drowning child. That one's not a hard question, Panda.

:P. I forgot to say there wasn't enough time :P

Now, I hope we can start noticing a trend in this. To make it more clear, I'm going to present two similar but different situations - I want to see if you guys can pick out the fundamental difference.

1. The original train situation, where either way people will be killed: but each way has a different number of people.

2. A train is steaming along. Ahead on the tracks there are three people tied to it. They cannot be removed from this, the train cannot be stopped by itself. Incidentally, there is a bridge ahead with an extremely fat man sitting on the rails (lol, imagine as fat as possible). If he was pushed off, he would be enough to stop the train in time (but he himself would be killed). Should the man be pushed off?

The situation is similar in that either one person or three people will die. But there is a crucial difference that is the key to the trend. Can you see what the difference is?

daveshan
18th January 2008, 6:15 AM
Yeah, the difference is that you could activaly kill a person in the new scene. In the old one, both kills were passive, as in there was nothing you could do but let it happen.

I say, push him off.

The_Panda
18th January 2008, 7:28 AM
The difference is that in one instance, the minority is killed in the process of saving the majority. In the other, the minority is being used to kill the majority.

Death dealer
18th January 2008, 8:27 PM
The difference is that in one instance, the minority is killed in the process of saving the majority. In the other, the minority is being used to kill the majority.

And I see no moral difference between the two at all. Letting someone die against their will is just as immoral as actively killing them.

The_Panda
19th January 2008, 2:30 AM
And I see no moral difference between the two at all. Letting someone die against their will is just as immoral as actively killing them.

Letting someone die against their will is only immoral when you have the power to stop them from dying.

Ethan
26th January 2008, 7:53 PM
So if a person murders your entire family in the most brutal way, video taped it, and mass distributed it but you knew he was never going to do anything bad agian and he had learned his lesson he should get of scott free?

The Edge
27th January 2008, 4:05 AM
Punishment is justice, or retribution for wrongdoing. In that respect, people are sent to prison to remove them from society. Discipline, however, is teaching that wrongdoing has consequences in the hopes that future wrongdoing can be deterred. I would suggest that most modern judicial systems work more as punishments, but at the same time as discipline (people will avoid punishment by doing the right thing.)

But this is really a debate of definition; which side you're on depends on what dictionary you use.

Cerulean21
27th January 2008, 12:50 PM
So if a person murders your entire family in the most brutal way, video taped it, and mass distributed it but you knew he was never going to do anything bad agian and he had learned his lesson he should get of scott free?

In some way, yes. You're making this too subjective. Punishment should not be there for revenge, it should be there to show the people that society does not accept what they have done wrong and to learn that lesson. So if you know, he's never going to do anything bad again, there's no need to put him away from society. Ok, I admit, I would sentence him to prison for live (which is 15 years), as this would be justice IMO, but as my opinion is subjective, that doesn't matter.
Another reason is that you can't generalize things like that. Every murder has a reason that motivated the murderer to do so. You need to know this reasons and all adjected to it as well in order to judge. I know, death and murder are two very emotional things, punishment, however, isn't and shouldn't be. A murderer is a feeling and thinking human being who has reasons for what he does like every other human aswell (You may not find those reasonable, but that's your opinion, therefore subjective and that doesn't matter, as for him, this reasons may be legitimate) and he deserves the same rights as everybody else. People make mistakes, always, and they learn from them. So if affrometioned murderer has learned it's lesson, then the purpose of punishment as it is has been fulfilled.

The_Panda
27th January 2008, 1:23 PM
So if a person murders your entire family in the most brutal way, video taped it, and mass distributed it but you knew he was never going to do anything bad agian and he had learned his lesson he should get of scott free?

I wouldn't let him get out scott free. While punishing him will not mean he will commit no further crimes (by the premise, we already know he will not anyway) but it will prevent further crimes by other people. Remember, punishment is a deterrent. If we expose the law by showing that if you will not we will not punish you it will encourage others to break the law. Thus through not not punishing them we are doing something right.


Punishment is justice, or retribution for wrongdoing. In that respect, people are sent to prison to remove them from society. Discipline, however, is teaching that wrongdoing has consequences in the hopes that future wrongdoing can be deterred. I would suggest that most modern judicial systems work more as punishments, but at the same time as discipline (people will avoid punishment by doing the right thing.)

Two wrongs don't make a right; punishment for the sake of punishment is pretty much sick. But if the punishment will stop wrongdoing but not to the point at which the punishment is more than the crime or the punishment deals more pain than it stops, it's the right thing to do.

Ethan
27th January 2008, 9:10 PM
In some way, yes. You're making this too subjective. Punishment should not be there for revenge, it should be there to show the people that society does not accept what they have done wrong and to learn that lesson. So if you know, he's never going to do anything bad again, there's no need to put him away from society. Ok, I admit, I would sentence him to prison for live (which is 15 years), as this would be justice IMO, but as my opinion is subjective, that doesn't matter.
Another reason is that you can't generalize things like that. Every murder has a reason that motivated the murderer to do so. You need to know this reasons and all adjected to it as well in order to judge. I know, death and murder are two very emotional things, punishment, however, isn't and shouldn't be. A murderer is a feeling and thinking human being who has reasons for what he does like every other human aswell (You may not find those reasonable, but that's your opinion, therefore subjective and that doesn't matter, as for him, this reasons may be legitimate) and he deserves the same rights as everybody else. People make mistakes, always, and they learn from them. So if affrometioned murderer has learned it's lesson, then the purpose of punishment as it is has been fulfilled.


It does not matter if it is subjective. We live in a society with certian standards that are to be upheld and we make that message clear to every person from childhood to adulthood. When someone steps outside that line that society drew in the sand and said "do not step passed this line" then their opinion is frivolous. We are not talking about "in theory" we are speaking about your moral standards, your opinion, and your outlook.

Cerulean21
27th January 2008, 9:22 PM
It does not matter if it is subjective. We live in a society with certian standards that are to be upheld and we make that message clear to every person from childhood to adulthood. When someone steps outside that line that society drew in the sand and said "do not step passed this line" then their opinion is frivolous. We are not talking about "in theory" we are speaking about your moral standards, your opinion, and your outlook.

You simply cannot bring moral into this like that. Moral is something very flexible. I can give you an exemple: In Europe, the death penalty is immoral, whilst in the US it isn't. Punishments and morals are something that draws back thousands of years and is bound to the culture of each individual society. I think is wrong to ban a person from a society just because he made a mistake. Again (and what many people don't seem to understand), punishment and justice have nothing to do with revenge, they are there to help people find their ways in society. I can give you an excemple about revenge and how it's wrong: A father whose daughter has been raped and tortured to death goes off and kills the person who did this. Well, now the father is not better than the murderer as he did the very same thing. Killing that murderer does not bring his daughter back nor does it help her in any way. Revenge should have nothing to do with punishment as they fulfill two totally different types of purposes

Ethan
28th January 2008, 4:09 AM
You simply cannot bring moral into this like that. Moral is something very flexible. I can give you an exemple: In Europe, the death penalty is immoral, whilst in the US it isn't. Punishments and morals are something that draws back thousands of years and is bound to the culture of each individual society. I think is wrong to ban a person from a society just because he made a mistake. Again (and what many people don't seem to understand), punishment and justice have nothing to do with revenge, they are there to help people find their ways in society. I can give you an excemple about revenge and how it's wrong: A father whose daughter has been raped and tortured to death goes off and kills the person who did this. Well, now the father is not better than the murderer as he did the very same thing. Killing that murderer does not bring his daughter back nor does it help her in any way. Revenge should have nothing to do with punishment as they fulfill two totally different types of purposes

I am a moral relativist but even so the philosophy is irrelevant. Even morals carry some form of logic attached to them. When we make that statement, we are appealing to some kind of standard of behavior we expect the other person to know about. Where do you think that standard originates?

Philosophers don't seem to like objectivism either.

http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/critics/index.html#ethics

Agian I would like to remind that we are focusing on YOU and what YOU believe.

Cerulean21
28th January 2008, 1:21 PM
Agian I would like to remind that we are focusing on YOU and what YOU believe.

What you quoted me there is exactly what I believe.


I think is wrong to ban a person from a society just because he made a mistake. Again (and what many people don't seem to understand), punishment and justice have nothing to do with revenge, they are there to help people find their ways in society

To add this up. If we are talking about the death penalty: It's immoral IMO.
What I think about punishment in general is what I already stated in the quote above

Ethan
28th January 2008, 9:54 PM
What you quoted me there is exactly what I believe.


Oh really?



Ok, I admit, I would sentence him to prison for live (which is 15 years), as this would be justice IMO, but as my opinion is subjective, that doesn't matter.

Ahem.

Cerulean21
28th January 2008, 10:07 PM
Oh really?

Ahem.

You got that right. I'd probably sentence him to prison for live (=10-15 years) and then release him to get back into society

Ethan
28th January 2008, 10:17 PM
You got that right. I'd probably sentence him to prison for live (=10-15 years) and then release him to get back into society

Then argue from that instead of pulling out philosophical mumbo jumbo.