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  #1  
Old 10-15-2007, 03:23 PM
Borodog Borodog is offline
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Default Why \"Would You . . .\" Questions are All BS

Ok, they're not *totally* BS.

I mean the "Would you run into a burning building to save a baby" type questions. I've asked my share of these. And they can be useful in examining your personal feelings on the pros and cons of various ethical/moral situations.

But anyone who says they definitely would do this or they certainly would do that under such and such circumstances is deluding themselves. You are not in that choice situation. You can say anything you like now in your swivel chair, but it has little bearing on what preferences or value scale you would actually demonstrate in the actual situation.
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  #2  
Old 10-15-2007, 03:44 PM
ALawPoker ALawPoker is offline
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Default Re: Why \"Would You . . .\" Questions are All BS

For sure.

If anything, I'd wager that the people who say they probably wouldn't do anything or that they're not really sure would actually be *more* likely to help than the people who say they'd definitely do it. I feel like we all have some basic condition that will drive us to almost involuntarily act in a certain way in such situations (entirely regardless of whatever intellectual justifications we might come up with on an internet message board). And the people who insist they'd help and that helping is so righteous are probably more likely to just be overcompensating for the fact that they're wusses who would run as soon as the situation got a little scary or whatnot. The people who say "eh, whatever" are still human, and thus still perfectly likely to help. Their response is just more honest to the reality that there's no way to know.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:46 PM
WiiiiiiMan WiiiiiiMan is offline
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Default Re: Why \"Would You . . .\" Questions are All BS

Because people have a hard time putting their mental energy into something productive.
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  #4  
Old 10-15-2007, 04:06 PM
Bork Bork is offline
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Default Re: Why \"Would You . . .\" Questions are All BS

[ QUOTE ]


But anyone who says they definitely would do this or they certainly would do that under such and such circumstances is deluding themselves. You are not in that choice situation. You can say anything you like now in your swivel chair, but it has little bearing on what preferences or value scale you would actually demonstrate in the actual situation.

[/ QUOTE ]

What people claim they will do has little bearing, yes. What leads them to say it (past experiences/ current beliefs) could have signifigant bearing on what they would actually do. Though it won't necessarily have any bearing.

There are a lot of hypothetical questions where what people say they will do is a good indicator of what they actually would do. Cases which involve a lot emotions and instinct aren't often among them, because it's impossible to simulate what kind of overpowering fight/flee/empathy feelings will determine what you do. (if you have in fact saved somebody in the past at great risk to yourself then I think then you may well be justified in saying you would save the child.



[ QUOTE ]
And the people who insist they'd help and that helping is so righteous are probably more likely to just be overcompensating for the fact that they're wusses who would run as soon as the situation got a little scary.

[/ QUOTE ]
Saying people who claim they would save the kid are less likely to actually do so than those who claim they wouldn't is pretty crazy. People can be and are often wrong about what they actually would do. Some even will lie about what they believe they would do. This doesn't entail or suggest the opposite correlation though. Many of the No's could be wussies too and even be answering 'no' because of that knowledge of themselves. It's odd that you think that the Nos/Probably Nots are more honest and in touch with reality, yet are more likely to save the child which they don't think they would have.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:21 PM
Nielsio Nielsio is offline
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Default Re: Why \"Would You . . .\" Questions are All BS

[ QUOTE ]
Ok, they're not *totally* BS.

I mean the "Would you run into a burning building to save a baby" type questions. I've asked my share of these. And they can be useful in examining your personal feelings on the pros and cons of various ethical/moral situations.

But anyone who says they definitely would do this or they certainly would do that under such and such circumstances is deluding themselves. You are not in that choice situation. You can say anything you like now in your swivel chair, but it has little bearing on what preferences or value scale you would actually demonstrate in the actual situation.

[/ QUOTE ]


The 'would you rather be buried alive or burned alive' type question have very little to do with morality. The point of these situations is to mindfuck you. If reality is like that then the actual moral problems are to be found somewhere else entirely.
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  #6  
Old 10-15-2007, 04:25 PM
madnak madnak is offline
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Default Re: Why \"Would You . . .\" Questions are All BS

Context also matters and is rarely presented, but the point of the questions is to get at the logic underlying decision-making. Most decisions probably aren't very logical, so the real answer to the question is less relevant than the answer that a person's belief system generates - I think David especially likes to point out logical inconsistencies in the beliefs of other people, and to encourage them to be more logical, and these questions are how he accomplishes it.
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  #7  
Old 10-15-2007, 04:46 PM
ALawPoker ALawPoker is offline
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Default Re: Why \"Would You . . .\" Questions are All BS

[ QUOTE ]
Saying people who claim they would save the kid are less likely to actually do so than those claim they wouldn't is pretty crazy.

[/ QUOTE ]

You seem to be missing my point. My point (in agreement with OP) is that there IS NO WAY TO KNOW what we'd do and that the vast majority of our decision is made on the subconscious level. So pay careful attention to my wording. I'm referring to people who INSIST they would help.

Since I believe there is no way they could know this no matter how resolutely they claim it, all their sureness indicates to me is that they claim an irrational position. If someone said he had an 8 foot vertical leap, I would think "Hmm, humans don't have the capacity for 8 foot vertical leaps, so I wonder why he would say that?" From there, it seems more likely to me that they claim this because they'd actually be less willing to help than because they'd be more willing to help. Agree/disagree/why?

You can argue that my point only applies to their *perception* of themselves. Maybe the person who claims the 8 foot jump wishes for whatever reason that he could jump higher, but is still a great athlete. That's fine. But in general when someone claims an irrational attribute, I think it's (very slightly) more likely that they tend to actually not possess that attribute. I have no problem with "eh, I'd probably consider helping, but who knows" (since that falls within the range of what one could rationally claim).

I'm not really attached to the argument or anything though. It's probably entirely negligible. *If anything* were my key words. All I really meant was that I agreed the claims are empty.
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  #8  
Old 10-15-2007, 04:50 PM
tame_deuces tame_deuces is offline
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Default Re: Why \"Would You . . .\" Questions are All BS


Well, as I read in the specific post about the burning building, alot of posters made the point that they couldn't know but theorized atleast what they believed is right.

The question also illustrates a logical deficiency in our thinking - though it is ofcourse perfectly explainable by taking the 'social sphere' into account et cetera. Personally I find such discussion quite interesting...and the purpose of the question isn't really to figure out who is going to jump into the blaze and who is not, but to debate an ethical question (if you can save one kid by risking your life, why wouldn't you save one where you don't have to risk your life).
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  #9  
Old 10-15-2007, 05:11 PM
Henry17 Henry17 is offline
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Default Re: Why \"Would You . . .\" Questions are All BS

I do agree that the answers to these questions are mostly meaningless. People just answer with either the image of themselves they would like to portray or they answer without much reflection.

That doesn't mean they can't be answered honestly. I have never come across a burning building with a baby inside. But I have been in several situations where I had to put my safety at risk for someone else. From that you can extrapolate to other similar situations.
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  #10  
Old 10-15-2007, 06:19 PM
bocablkr bocablkr is offline
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Default Re: Why \"Would You . . .\" Questions are All BS

I suppose it depends on whether you truly know yourself. Most people who perform heroic deeds or are prone to heroism know it deep within themselves. I have known since I was a little boy that I would not hesitate to rescue or save someone if I could. I have saved three people in my lifetime, twice with little danger to myself and once with considerable danger. Even though I have never saved someone from a burning building I am quite confident I would try if I thought there was a reasonable chance of success.
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