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Timothy Griffy
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You lost me at Villainous Falling Man II. I totally agreed with you on the first three scenarios without hesitation, but this is where I hesitated, precisely because it struck me as more about revenge than anything else. I then agreed with you about the Rapist scenario, but not for the reasons you gave. And yet I found myself agreeing that Sam could pull the pin on the grenade even though I thought pulling the trigger couldn't be justified. As weird as those different responses may seem, I think it can be explained through a combination of retribution and prudence. In the shooting alternative, you specified that shooting the VFM may or may not kill him. All Sam gets here is the slight satisfaction he will get in the miliseconds remaining of his life that VFM won't walk away unscathed. That doesn't seem to be that much of a gain to me. Furthermore, shooting VFM without any assurance of actually killing him would also be imprudent, since if VFM does walk away, he can claim he fell because you shot him. So whatever chance there may have been that VFM will be brought to justice has been completely eliminated. In contrast, pulling the pin makes sense. Realisticly speaking, if you are at the bottom of a well and a grenade explodes underneath you, you are almost certainly going to die. That's good old-fashioned retribution. Since the odds VFM would face justice were already low, Sam seems justified in pulling the pin. Contra your explanation, in the case of the Rapist, it would still be prudent for Sally to resist, even if there is no realistic hope of stopping the rapist. Not resisting might be prudent, but not because it would give her a higher chance of survival; the story as you stipulated it the only thing Sally would realistically gain is to not die as cruelly as she would otherwise. The surviving victim's story does not give Sally any reassurance that being passive would help her survive. As you presented the story, the surviving victim believes she survived because she was passive. But we are straight out told she barely survived. This means the rapist did his solid best to kill her, and the best explanation for her survival is mere luck. This means that, if Sally wants to survive, her most prudent course is to resist, even against any real hope. However extremely unlikely the odds, in this case they are not zero.
Toggle Commented Sep 1, 2021 on A Few Short Steps to the Gallows at
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Aug 31, 2021