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Put another way

Let's say I've got a friend (I do!) and this particular friend wants to have sex with a mentally unstable (but not dangerous) woman in a committed relationship. He persuades her to do so, and she betrays her boyfriend to have sex with this friend. This friend has no intention of an ongoing relationship with the woman - he just wants sex, and tells her so all along.

Obviously she's morally (or ethically, if you prefer) culpable for betraying a trust. Is the friend who had sex with her morally or ethically culpable for a wrong act, and if so - what?


Aug. 2nd, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
In your point you also made a point of saying it's fine as long as she's unmarried. If she's married how do you think the point changes? If your intent isn't to deceive or betray the person, how is that different? Is it because of the scope of their commitment?

She's still in a committed relationship either way, and because of your actions that commitment is destroyed (they might be in a relationship but it's certainly not committed anymore). So what makes it worse then if she's married?

As to your last point, I think the difference is you're planning on engaging in a 'immoral' act, and they are choosing to engage in the act with you. Their decision isn't really your responsibility is it? I think it's impossible living your life doing what's in other people's best interests, beyond that being incredibly annoying, what makes your idea of what's in my best interests accurate? Furthermore if someone's in a 'commited' relationship and are willing to cheat on their partner, then you could argue the case instead that it would be in their best interest to realize that there was a problem with their relationship.

I think the above would be retarded, but your idea of what's in someone else's best interests are fairly subjective.
Aug. 3rd, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
Marriage might shift the calculus, in that having sex would be in violation of a culturally-normative and legally real agreement of sexual exclusivity. Even in that case the morality of it may hinge on how you view marriage. I excluded marriage in my earlier example because I didn't want those aspects mucking up my philosophical masturbations.

You make an excellent point with regard to 'best interests.' It may actually be impossible to determine, before the fact, whether a recommended action is in someone else's best interests. That would make moral determinations only possible after the fact, and I'm fairly sure that results-based morality is generally unacceptable. But suppose you recommend to someone that they do something that, though immoral, is extremely likely to benefit him. Assume also that the moral alternative will disadvantage him. Is that recommendation itself necessarily immoral?

I offer as an example a lawyer who recommends to his client not to fulfill a promise, on the basis that fulfilling the promise would disadvantage the client, and the promise would ultimately be unenforceable because of a technical rule.


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