Justice or Honour?

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Justice or Honour? Read the post first!!!

Justice
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Honour
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Total votes : 41

Justice or Honour?

Unread postby Kong Wen » Mon Apr 19, 2004 6:14 am

Here is something I've been thinking about for some time now. Let us imagine a hypothetical, role-playing type of situation.

You have made a personal vow never to kill. You have promised yourself that you will never intentionally kill or cause harm to another person. Then one day, someone destroys those who are close to you (family, spouse, children, friends, or whoever), and with their last dying breath, they ask you to avenge them. Now we have a dilemma.

Would you choose Justice, betray your original vow, and avenge your loved ones? What kind of effects would this have on you? Would you hate yourself for not being able to keep your promise to yourself? Would you feel that you were too weak to stick to your morals? And the big question, why would you choose Justice over Honour?

Would you choose Honour, disregard the request for vengeance, and maintain your vow? What kind of effects would this have on you? Would you be shamed and unable to face the rest of the community, who would perhaps expect you to take revenge? Would you feel/look like a coward? And the big question, why would you choose Honour over Justice?
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Mon Apr 19, 2004 7:01 am

My initial reaction would definitely be leaning toward Justice. I believe that the committer of such a crime must be brought to perfect and equitable justice, and with my emotions in the mix, I would be strongly compelled to act on my own and avenge them, breaking my vow.

I'm not the type to act rashly though, and after I calmed down over things, and thought more about the situation, I would end up choosing Honor. Though I would certainly pursue a path of Justice for those who had wronged my loved ones in whatever way possible, I would leave the ultimate decisions in the hands of others, who would be able to handle the manner in a way that was more fair and unbiased than any personal vengence I would choose to strike out.

I would be able to take my decision with pride, and not feel that I was being cowardly at all. Though some people may accost me of such, I would rather hold my head up and say that I am not the kind of person who would stoop to such an inhumanity, even in vengence. Justice belongs in the hands of those least biased toward such matters; honor belongs in the direct heart of the person who believes in it.
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Unread postby Book of Faith » Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:21 pm

I chose Honour.

I chose this due to my beleif that in the end, the wicked get the punishment they deserve, and the good get the rewards they deserve.

That being said, if this really were to happen, I would probably seek justice. I imagine that I would be full of rage, which can cause any person to act harshly. In the end, the thoughts of what this person did to me and my life would fill my head, and revenge and rage would be what is on my mind.
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Unread postby Carp's Tail » Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:30 pm

That's a very tough question, KW, but I think I would have to side with Honour for a couple of reasons.

Part of living in common with other human beings (i.e. living in society) is the tacit agreement that you surrender your right to justice (punishment) to the state. This presumes, of course, that the state will effectively punish those who have caused harm to you or your family/friends/etc. It begs the question: can the state effectively punish criminal acts? If you say "no", then you should probably break your part of the social contract and withdraw from society so as to re-claim your right to punish. Ironically, in breaking your end of the social contract, however, you effectively become a new target of the society from which you just left! This is because you are now a new threat to the society, and should you take vengeance (punishment) into your hands by attacking your quarry, you may be subject to incarceral or other punitive measures by the state (i.e. while your enemy may have broken contract by killing your family and friends, you are equally punishable as he is because you are breaking contract in attacking him). In addition, by exiting from the social contract (thus effectively entering the hypothetical state of nature), you are setting yourself up to face the combined powers and forces of the society from which you just left--which includes police and military powers, money, materials and other resources that you are unlikely match.

Honour is one of the few things that is personal and very important to maintain. If you tarnish your honour, you set a very ugly precedent for both yourself and those who know you. Your word loses its value since everyone will take a second thought whenever you promise to act or to not act. If you break a subsequent promise, you lose further credibility in the eyes of others to such an extent that perhaps you are better off breaking contract and living in your own "state of nature".

Of course, a lot of what I have said is very laden in philosophical-political theory and cannot be proven empirically. It's a difficult question, as I said before; however, it does set up a question of ethics of what you ought and ought not to do. Vengeance is a touchy subject because at best you are re-claiming a right that you had tacitly surrendered in living with other human beings in a society. At worst, however, you sacrifice your honour (which is always difficult to recover, once ruined), which is really a social characteristic (i.e. it's how others look at you). You then have to ask yourself, "if I break my promise and kill in vengeance, is it truly justice, for I have done an injustice myself by breaking my word?").

Side note: my third year ethics professor suggests that making a promise to yourself is actually a logical impossibility because part of promise-making includes the promisee's right to release the promisor from his obligation, but also the idea that the promisee has the right to enforce the obligation made by the promisor. By killing in an act of vengeance or justice, I (as the promisee) release myself (as the promisor) from my obligation to not kill, and therefore I would be free to kill. In other words, the promise means nothing since I both made and released myself from the obligation and duties entailed in the promise.
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Unread postby Ranbir » Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:44 pm

Ok, I've had to read that over and over.

I probably won't give you a straight answer and confused this even more...

There is honour in taking the vow never to kill. But now you have the honour of fulfilling the request by those that died in your hands. That choice of justice, would be fulfilling a vow, and that is to avenge their deaths, but, you've also dishonoured your first vow.

Justice doesn't have to be found with the deaths of those responsible. As long as you ensure that person has been punished for his crime.Justice has been served and honour has been fulfilled.

Ok, probably not the best answer. I'd like to do what Krishna said in the Hindu Epic Mahabharat (consider it the RTK of India) and that is, stop making all those silly vows. In the epic, several vows were made such as, I will kill him for that, I vow to drink his blood for this. It caused so many problems and dilemma's. I'm sure some had significant meanings to them, but Krishna (considered the supreme being in his last earthly incarnation) pretty much slammed all the vows made as silly and pointless and only caused bigger problems later on.

I say justice.
Last edited by Ranbir on Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Ts'ao Jian » Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:50 pm

Honour, because I made a vow, and would not want to break it. I would probably seek justice in the courts, but I would not directly take it upon myself to get vengeance. Thus, I would not be directly taking life/causing harm, but I would still get vengeance. If I lost in court, then so be it. I would still have tried, and still have my honour.
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Unread postby Exar Kun » Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:04 pm

Justice most definitely.

Those responsible deserve to pay and the spirit of my kin has called for vengeance.
If I were not to do it then I could never think of them without realizing that I have let their killer go free,never to account for their actions.

While sticking to one's morals is quite admirable,they are not made to account for every situation and I tend to think of them the way the Pirate's Code was in Pirates of the Caribbean:"they're not rules per se,more like guidelines."

Definitely justice.
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Unread postby Carp's Tail » Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:09 pm

Exar Kun wrote:"they're not rules per se,more like guidelines."


So is the age limit on drinking in Quebec, reportedly. :lol:
Engage in combat fully determined to die and you will be alive; wish to survive in the battle and you will surely meet death.
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:10 pm

I'm having a great time reading the replies to this thread so far. We have some excellent, well thought-out explanations.

Now, how would it change your answers if we remove the whole idea of society, law and punishment? In other words, would your answers change if your vow was the only thing preventing you from seeking revenge? If justice could only be served by your hand, and was solely your responsibility? This essentially removes the "justice will be done" mentality, because there is no social system that will achieve your justice if you don't do it yourself.
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Unread postby Exar Kun » Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:20 pm

Well my answer never even takes these things into account so I'm obviously not changing.
A society without laws just makes it a lot easier to pop a cap in this foo' :lol:

If anything,no laws would make my compunction to carry out my revenge even stronger,since I know for a fact that I'm the only instrument that can exact vengeance for my slain kin.
Last edited by Exar Kun on Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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