Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethical?

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Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethical?

Postby Tailsteak » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:45 pm

This is actually a question I've had in my mind for a while, but I wanted to wait until the current plotline to post it because I didn't want any scarf-related spoilers.

Is the destruction of an object of value - something desired, something that took work to produce, something useful - always wrong? In theory, it invalidates someone's work, it decreases the net value of everything on the planet... Assuming you own the object in question, is it wrong for you to destroy your own stuff?

If so, does that extend to waste, or to destruction through inaction? What about things that are antiquated and no longer useful, or something like unwanted drugs or handguns that have value, but could have a negative impact on society?

If I buy someone's unique artwork, then destroy it, have I made the world a worse place? Have I committed a sin?
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Re: Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethica

Postby BlandSauce » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:14 am

The destruction could potentially be done to make a statement, and inspire future increase of net world value.

Is an artistic performance unethical? You're using resources (time, calories, etc) without directly producing anything.
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Re: Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethica

Postby Globus » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:31 am

I believe you should be able to destroy anything you bought. That is why you bought it, and not, say, photographed it (assuming, say, a painting): You wanted to get the right to the item's fate. Note that this belief is shared by basically nobody, as it is illegal to, for example, burn one's own flag of any minority in the nation in Hungary (though the Hungarian flag is OK).

Anyway, I have, for some time, been agreeing with Frank Herbert, who said whoever can destroy anything, owns it. If this is true, and the destruction of an object of value is inherently unethical, then everything ever is owned by unethical people.

Are you sure it isn't an argument for Communism?
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Re: Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethica

Postby kd7sov » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:34 am

I would say no, it's not wrong. Necessarily, anyway; if I were to deliberately destroy the sweater my grandmother made for me, short of extenuating circumstances like an infestation of stinging insects, that would be wrong.

Now, I'd also say that acquiring something for the specific purpose of destroying it is, by and large, not good, though it may not be wrong either. I don't see destruction as a generally positive goal.
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Re: Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethica

Postby Packbat » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:24 pm

I think it's a little wrong, if for no other reason than the second law of thermodynamics. If someone used their time and energy creating something, they don't get that time and energy back when it is wrecked - and what is life, but our time and energy?
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Re: Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethica

Postby Globus » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:58 pm

Packbat wrote:I think it's a little wrong, if for no other reason than the second law of thermodynamics. If someone used their time and energy creating something, they don't get that time and energy back when it is wrecked - and what is life, but our time and energy?


They got money for it, for which they can buy time (having someone do something for them) and energy (food, also they can convert some of the time they bought by sleeping more).
Also, you can't fight thermodynamics II, if you don't spend your energy, you'll just radiate heat, and that will get rid of the same negentropy anyway.
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Re: Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethica

Postby typhon » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:58 am

It depends on the goal. Destruction for destruction's sake is unethical.
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Re: Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethica

Postby Globus » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:22 am

typhon wrote:It depends on the goal. Destruction for destruction's sake is unethical.


Is destruction for the sake of removing something you find offending from existence ethical?
Is destruction for the sake of removing something most people would find offending from existence ethical?
Is destruction for the sake of removing something unethical from existence ethical?
Is destruction for the sake of removing something you find immoral from existence ethical?
Is destruction for the sake of removing something unethical from existence moral?
Is destruction for the sake of removing something you find immoral from existence moral?
Do the answers change depending on who owns, made, or cares for the "something" mentioned?
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Re: Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethica

Postby kd7sov » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:09 pm

Globus wrote:
typhon wrote:It depends on the goal. Destruction for destruction's sake is unethical.


Is destruction for the sake of removing something you find offending from existence ethical?
Is destruction for the sake of removing something most people would find offending from existence ethical?
Is destruction for the sake of removing something unethical from existence ethical?
Is destruction for the sake of removing something you find immoral from existence ethical?
Is destruction for the sake of removing something unethical from existence moral?
Is destruction for the sake of removing something you find immoral from existence moral?
Do the answers change depending on who owns, made, or cares for the "something" mentioned?

Would you care to clarify what you mean by "something unethical" and "something you find immoral"? Because I'm a bit confused about that.

I mean, I consider the act of smoking both unethical and immoral. But a cigarette is just a thing; it has no ethical or moral character of its own.
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Re: Is destruction of an object of value inherently unethica

Postby Globus » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:43 pm

So then destroying the act of smoking would be somewhere between asking the man to stop and killing the man. Let's define the middle ground as taking a lit cigarette from someone's mouth and throwing it in a nearby puddle.

As for ethics versus morals, take this post as benchmark.
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