• chatterbears
    240
    Please make the case. I'd like to see it.tim wood

    Now this will come down to how you define morality, and how you come to moral decisions. For me, it is quite simple.

    Morality is how we differentiate immoral actions from moral actions. We place actions in categories, such as Morally Unacceptable vs Morally Acceptable. An immoral action is an action that causes unnecessary physical or mental harm. It is an action that results in a victim being involved. Within moral actions, there are moral obligations and moral virtues. How I define moral obligation vs moral virtue is quite simple. A moral obligation is an action that requires less effort and puts you at little to no risk. A moral virtue is an action the requires a lot more effort and possible puts you at a much higher risk.

    Here are two examples.

    Moral Virtue: Saving a person/animal from a burning building. Although this fire could have started by accident, you care enough about the life in danger to put your own life at risk to save another. You are not obligated to do so, as you didn't cause the fire and trying to save something from the fire is a big risk to yourself. If you started the fire and caused others to be in danger because of your actions, it would then become a moral obligation to save them. Since your action to start that fire caused unnecessary harm.

    Moral Obligation: Finding out your friend has a partner who is cheating on them. Although you have not committed the cheating yourself, you are enabling this behavior by not addressing it and having the person take responsibility for their actions. You are also allowing the cheater to continue their behavior while being dishonest and hurting his spouse for a longer period of time. This also comes at very little risk to you. And it also doesn't require much effort at all. If you're scared about the cheater going insane and trying to kill you for releasing this information, you can tell that person (the victim) anonymously (if you fear for your safety).
  • Hanover
    4k
    I reason, you rationalise, they are very naughty. If you wind back a way, you will see that I advocate action and honesty, on the basis that you actually care. What I'm arguing against is acting with the protection of anonymity and not taking responsibility for the consequences.unenlightened

    There are two questions here as you're presenting it. The first is whether they ought be told. The second is whether the messenger ought reveal his identity when he tells.

    You answer both in the affirmative, but they are two different questions. The first is in the affirmative I suppose because you think a person is entitled to the truth and a good is accomplished when the truth is revealed to him.

    I don't agree that the second question demands an affirmative response because I don't see why a messenger accomplishing the good inherent in question #1 must do so through self-sacrifice. What loss is there to the world should I send an anonymous note to a friend that his wife is cheating on him instead of delivering the message in person? I can say that I would be appreciative of an anonymous note if I were being cheated on and understanding of the anonymous nature of it, considering the messenger is an innocent party who just happens to have bad news to deliver.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    1) I feel a fairly strong sense that someone ought to inform the cheated 2) I am somebody 3) I feel strongly that I would like to be told if I were cheated on 4) I think the truth is almost always preferable to a lie, even when in the short term the lie looks more appealing. I suppose a fifth reason could be my feeling of astonishment that nobody else in this chain of information seems to feel this way.ProbablyTrue
    "I feel..," "I am,.." "I feel,..." "I think,.." "I suppose,.." and again, "I feel." Do you see a pattern here?

    The categorical imperative still relies on someone's intuition about the world they'd like to live in,ProbablyTrue
    No! 180 degrees wrong. The categorical imperative is an exercise in reason, and not an easy exercise. And you appear to be completely confused about any distinction between public and private concerns.
    At present, I am suffering....ProbablyTrue
    This speaks for itself.

    Look, let's be absurd for a moment - absurdity has its uses. My ethical code causes me to be concerned with public health, the health of others. I know that men with foreskins, uncircumsiced men, need to wash under their foreskins or terrible things will happen. I'm concerned about you. I think I should come over and inspect that all is as it should be. (You don't get a say in the matter.) That seem right to you? What's the difference between yours and my shoulds.

    It's an axiom of mine that there ain't no should. Wherever "should" might appear, it needs to be replaced with the argument it takes the place of.

    And, I'm guessing the informers are mainly young and never-married men. The MYOBers older and married at least once.
  • unenlightened
    2.8k
    I can say that I would be appreciative of an anonymous note if I were being cheated on and understanding of the anonymous nature of it, considering the messenger is an innocent party who just happens to have bad news to deliver.Hanover

    Yes I dare say you would. Now what would you appreciate if you were cheating?
  • Hanover
    4k
    Your position seems to be that marriages and monogamy are largely bullshit mirages, and so should someone learn of another's infidelity, they needn't inform the other because all that will likely do is invoke irrational reactions from the person cheated on who was too naive to have already realized that marriages and monogamy were bullshit mirages anyway.

    That is to say, if someone were to come to you with news of your partner's infidelity, you'd tell them to buzz off because you never expected your vows of faithfulness would be taken seriously 100% of the time. You don't live in fairy tale land and you're not terribly troubled when you learn the fairy tale you pretended to be the case is shown not to be. Your view is forged from reality, not through armchair introspection, which means it avoids the abstract hypothetical of whether one is obligated to inform another of a damaging truth by your making reference to too many real details of the shit that goes on in most fucked up marriages.
  • Hanover
    4k
    Now what would you appreciate if you were cheating?unenlightened
    The guilty always appreciate going undetected. Do you suggest that the harm to the cheater ought be considered before revealing the truth?
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    Moral Obligation: Finding out your friend has a partner who is cheating on them. Although you have not committed the cheating yourself, you are enabling this behavior by not addressing it and having the person take responsibility for their actions. You are also allowing the cheater to continue their behavior while being dishonest and hurting his spouse for a longer period of time. This also comes at very little risk to you. And it also doesn't require much effort at all. If you're scared about the cheater going insane and trying to kill you for releasing this information, you can tell that person (the victim) anonymously (if you fear for your safety).chatterbears

    Thank you for a fair reply! I can see you have persuaded yourself that the business of others is your business. Also implicit is that you get to cherry-pick your obligations. In the case of crimes being committed, then I'm with you, except call a cop. But no crime is here alleged. It's you who are making a value judgment, and it's not about yourself. You're deciding what's right and wrong for other people. Possibly it's the sex you object to - after all, someone's cheating! But what is it, exactly, that constitutes the cheating? That answer matters, and I'm pretty sure you haven't got it. And it's odd you measure the strength of the obligation against convenience.

    Bottom line: collective wisdom in western civilization is that when it comes to marriage, MYOB. Notice I did not say the excited opinions of friends. If you speak, you own and are responsible for what happens because you spoke. Some good is conceivable; you don't get credit for that. For pain and damage, that's all yours. And it might be a risk worth taking, except that it is an unnecessary risk. You put others at risk, without their input, to serve your agenda. Not ethical at all.
  • unenlightened
    2.8k
    I would be appreciativeHanover

    The guilty always appreciateHanover

    This. I identify with innocence. That is rationalisation.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    Your position seems to be that marriages....Hanover
    Be good enough to let us know just what, exactly, you think a marriage is? And if there are criteria such that third persons can decide if an existing marriage is a marriage or not?
  • Hanover
    4k
    Be good enough to let us know just what, exactly, you think a marriage is? And if there are criteria such that third persons can decide if an existing marriage is a marriage or not?tim wood

    A marriage, as I understand it, from the ceremonies I have attended as a groom, a groomsman, and a simple guest (not all at the same time mind you), is where two people make a lifetime commitment to one another, and , importantly for this discussion, forsake all others.

    I recognize that not all adhere to this quaint notion of marriage and some do allow for various dalliances, but, in order to keep consistent with the OP, I'm referencing only those marriages where cheating can occur and I'm speaking of my duty to inform the cheatee of the cheater.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    I admire your brevity and succinctness. "Commitment... to forsake all others." But how does it work? Wherein, or in whom, does the possibility of judgment lie? In you? I infer that for you a marriage is between no fewer than three and possibly more parties: him and her and everyone else who has an opinion.

    It also seems you do not allow for the humanity of the persons married. Maybe they can, or are, working things out. Marriage is not-so-easy. It seems for you that if they cross some line that you establish, it's not theirs anymore, but rather is public, and fair ground for you to intrude on.

    my duty to inform the cheatee of the cheater.Hanover
    I still don't get how this is grounded. What is your entitlement and what is your warrant and what is your duty, to speak at all? The arguments so far here presuppose the answer. Maybe you can do better.
  • chatterbears
    240
    Thank you for a fair reply! I can see you have persuaded yourself that the business of others is your business.tim wood

    I persuaded myself that unnecessary harm being caused to others should be stopped, especially if you are able to to do. And in this case, the OP is able to do so. If you found that the wife was being beat by the husband, would you not try what you can to stop it? Call the police? Tell someone else who might be able to help? Etc...

    Also implicit is that you get to cherry-pick your obligations. In the case of crimes being committed, then I'm with you, except call a cop. But no crime is here alleged.tim wood

    So you base your moral actions on whether or not it is a crime? Hundreds of years ago, owning a slave wasn't a crime. So you'd be fine with that? If rape was legal, would you be fine with that as well? Basing your moral actions on what the law dictates, is a very poor way to come to a moral decision.

    It's you who are making a value judgment, and it's not about yourself. You're deciding what's right and wrong for other people. Possibly it's the sex you object to - after all, someone's cheating! But what is it, exactly, that constitutes the cheating? That answer matters, and I'm pretty sure you haven't got it. And it's odd you measure the strength of the obligation against convenience.tim wood

    I am not deciding what is right and wrong for other people. It is demonstrably wrong that cheating causing pain in a relationship. This is a form of dishonesty and manipulation, but at a very high degree. People's relationships, especially marriages, are not to be taken lightly. That is two people who decided to trust in each other, and when someone breaks that trust, that is immoral. I don't object to the sex. I object to the dishonesty and unnecessary pain that is being caused to the other person. Which is what I stated from the beginning about how I defined morality.

    Bottom line: collective wisdom in western civilization is that when it comes to marriage, MYOB.tim wood

    Yeah so again. If beating your wife was legal, such as in other cultures, people should just turn a blind eye and mind their own business right? We shouldn't try to intervene and stop it, or call the authorities, because they aren't breaking a law. Right?

    Notice I did not say the excited opinions of friends. If you speak, you own and are responsible for what happens because you spoke. Some good is conceivable; you don't get credit for that. For pain and damage, that's all yours. And it might be a risk worth taking, except that it is an unnecessary risk. You put others at risk, without their input, to serve your agenda. Not ethical at all.tim wood

    How do you put others at risk by revealing the truth to what is happening within a dishonest relationship? It's unethical to allow it to go on, rather than to reveal it for what it actually is. You have it backwards.
  • chatterbears
    240
    Also. If you had a daughter, and your daughter had a husband. And your daughter had a friend (or co-worker) who found out about her husband cheating on her. Would you not want your daughter to be informed of the dishonesty and disrespect that her husband is hiding from her? Or do you still stand by the illogical statement of, "Bottom line: collective wisdom in western civilization is that when it comes to marriage, MYOB"
  • ProbablyTrue
    188
    "I feel..," "I am,.." "I feel,..." "I think,.." "I suppose,.." and again, "I feel." Do you see a pattern here?tim wood

    Do you really need me to rephrase all of those reasons in a less subjective way for you to allow the conversation to continue?

    No! 180 degrees wrong. The categorical imperative is an exercise in reason, and not an easy exercise. And you appear to be completely confused about any distinction between public and private concerns.tim wood

    Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.
    What reason would I will something? What universal basis could there be for my willing something?

    This speaks for itself.tim wood

    When I wrote that I knew you would probably point it out, and in doing so imply I'm being a meddlesome child who likes to get in the mix of other's affairs(no pun intended). I think that is because you are confusing their relationship and the potential outcomes of my informing the cheated with my decision to inform.

    Some good is conceivable; you don't get credit for that. For pain and damage, that's all yours.tim wood
    I see it in exactly the opposite light. Any pain or damage would be the responsibility of the cheater. It was their actions that crossed the line and it is their actions that would determine whether the relationship ends or mends. At no point could the cheater say, "Well, all of this is the informer's fault! If only you'd stayed oblivious life would be peachy!" I am only allowing the wronged party a chance to make decisions based upon reality.

    I'm concerned about you. I think I should come over and inspect that all is as it should be. (You don't get a say in the matter.) That seem right to you? What's the difference between yours and my shoulds.tim wood

    You could send me an email, or even a message here, informing me of the potential ills of my unclean penis. It's entirely up to me what I do with that information. You would be in no way imposing on me and I would probably just disregard what you said.
    My should is not forcing anyone to do anything. It is stating the facts on the ground. Nothing more.

    And, I'm guessing the informers are mainly young and never-married mentim wood

    I've been married for a decade.

    I think chatterbears and I are on the same page, or at least I'm on the same page as chatterbears.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    Your position seems to be that marriages and monogamy are largely bullshit miragesHanover

    Some marriages are mirages. Most seem to be mixtures of hopes, fears, love, high expectations, and at least in the beginning, enthusiastic commitment. Later on the commitment may change from enthusiastic to resigned commitment, just as love changes from lusty romance in the beginning to something much more sober and less sexual.

    I've seen what happens (up close and personal) when friends and relatives decide that a relationship or marriage needs a truth-telling intervention. The results can be intensely negative, and the people who carried out the intervention will be blamed--as perhaps they should be.

    Is it stupid to expect fidelity in this day and age? (Was it ever sensible?)

    Yes, I think it is a little stupid to expect fidelity under any and all circumstances. Let's say the husband is in the navy (cue the Village People) and is on assignments that take him away from home for long stretches of time. Is the wife NOT somewhat naive to think that her husband has never and will never find sexual partners during the long months of separation? (The long months of separation alone will probably erode love and commitment.) Is the husband sensible to think that when he periodically leaves his wife alone for months at a stretch that she might wish the affection of even an interloping partner?

    Failure to maintain marital vows doesn't make someone evil, and therefore subject to anything that might happen to them, especially when what makes marriages work well is missing.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    Some good is conceivable; you don't get credit for that. For pain and damage, that's all yours.tim wood

    I think what Wood meant is that you won't get credit for good outcomes, and you will be blamed for bad outcomes. Why?

    Because in spilling the beans, you become the most visible and least valuable person in the equation, rating well below the adulterous spouse. Therefore, the full truck load of tragedy will be dumped on your doorstep.
  • ProbablyTrue
    188
    I see. I could see that coming from the cheater, but seems less likely from the cheated. Either way, I am relegated to informing anonymously if I choose to do so in this case.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    What is the important point, here? For you it's the cheating. But you're the one who calls it that. Until the aggrieved party speaks, there is no aggrieved party - unless it's you! No cheating has occurred until the "cheatee" calls it. And when that happens, you're out of the picture.

    You apparently are concerned with the behaviour, but unless you know all the details of the why of it, then you don't actually know what it is. And I have twice excepted crime; and no, slavery is not an issue, nor assault and battery. Try this. Find a wise neutral party, and solicit an opinion there. Clearly you/re only interest here is to promote your own point of view.

    It's entirely up to me what I do with that information.ProbablyTrue
    You have completely missed the point. Your interference is at the level of an involuntary short-arm inspection whether you like it or not, whether it is convenient for you or not, whether it is good or beneficial for you or not, and, in the case of your interference, whether it does harm and no good, or not. In fact, it's all my say-so - you don't get a say. If you don't like that, then think about what you're contemplating doing.

    But it is good to hear you're so ethically minded. No doubt there are many initiatives in your community and beyond where you apply your energy for the good of all. What are some of those?
  • Blue Lux
    588
    I myself have cheated and been cheated on. The unfortunate thing about cheating is that often the people who cheat have a reason, a reason that resounds within them. And whatever this reason is, usually is incapable of being identified and assimilated into the relationship by either members in the relationship. Furthermore, this is true for everyone in relation to that relationship: they do not understand the intentions; they immediately view it as wrong because it causes the other person pain; the one whom was cheated on. In itself a person may have done it knowing it was wrong. But this still does not make it absolutely wrong, because I think it relates to intentions completely outside of the confines of that clearly-not-very-honest relationship, which undoubtedly goes further than just the cheating.

    In this situation, you either protect a person from a lie, which essentially renders so much more to come a lie, because it would be based on lies. Or, you protect a person from the moment in which he or she will realize that something is wrong with his or her relationship in a catastrophic degree.

    In any form, you are not obligated or responsible for 'their' doings. Perhaps you could have changed an outcome of perhaps the relationship getting better and the cheater never cheating again... At this point you would have to rely on probability. But are you going to base your actions on a faith of something happening? In the end it will be faith that dictates what you will do. Because even no fact can stop someone from doing something. Are you moral for revealing or not?
    This is what I would probably call something with no solution.

    Life sometimes has no solution. And why should it have a solution? Who are we?

    If you can measure the epistemological support you have that would support telling on the cheater against the what would be lesser epistemological support of the withholding of such knowledge then I would say you have grounds for revealing the other person's information. This is the only way--something based in an accurate, reasonable measurement of possibility.

    There is a reason people love to gamble.


    @tim wood@Bitter Crank@chatterbears@Hanover@unenlightened
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    I am relegated to informing anonymously if I choose to do so in this case.ProbablyTrue

    How strongly do you believe in this prospective act if you are not willing to claim it personally, by name?
  • unenlightened
    2.8k
    people who cheat have a reason,Blue Lux

    Indeed they do. Perhaps I want to spare my partner the sad and humiliating truth that I have come to find her unexciting, if not repulsive. Perhaps she finds me so, and we have had no physical relations for years. Perhaps apart from this, we get on well and are happy together. Perhaps both of us are cheaters sparing each other's feelings as best we can.

    Life sometimes has no solution. And why should it have a solution?Blue Lux

    Perhaps the solution is already in place, and the problem is the moralist who finds it their duty to tell the truth and impose it on us. Relationships are more complicated than a mere contract of exclusivity - who knows, there might even be children to consider. Which is why I place the emphasis on caring for the people, both parties, as the condition for intervening in such a situation. If we were talking of serious abuse, I would take a different line.

    Having said that, there is the case in which an honest partner is being betrayed on a daily basis and if and when they do find out, their whole life is devalued in their own eyes, and the friend who has known and said nothing is a party to the betrayal. So it is definitely something worth bringing to a philosophy forum to get the wisdom of the dudes on.
  • ProbablyTrue
    188
    What is the important point, here? For you it's the cheating. But you're the one who calls it that. Until the aggrieved party speaks, there is no aggrieved party - unless it's you! No cheating has occurred until the "cheatee" calls it. And when that happens, you're out of the picture.tim wood
    The cheated person in this scenario doesn't even have an opportunity to be the aggrieved party by your standard. All I would be offering is the cheated person a chance to decide for themselves if they are aggrieved or not. Implicit in your point is that there is a chance the cheated person might not be aggrieved if they found out. So I intend on letting them make that decision on their own.

    You apparently are concerned with the behaviour, but unless you know all the details of the why of it, then you don't actually know what it is. And I have twice excepted crime; and no, slavery is not an issue, nor assault and battery. Try this. Find a wise neutral party, and solicit an opinion there. Clearly you/re only interest here is to promote your own point of view.tim wood

    Once again, I do not need to know the totality of their behavior to know that one person has cheated on the other. I have not brought up crime or slavery in this discussion other than in the OP to illustrate that there are times where one is morally obligated to do something. You are making a legal distinction which isn't at all relevant in my view.

    I came here for the wise neutral party as I am/was conflicted by this.

    You have completely missed the point. Your interference is at the level of an involuntary short-arm inspectiontim wood

    In this hypothetical you are forcing a physical action upon me, which would be assault or kidnapping. Providing me with the information is a much more fitting analogy.

    But it is good to hear you're so ethically minded. No doubt there are many initiatives in your community and beyond where you apply your energy for the good of all. What are some of those?tim wood

    Why the animosity? I never claimed to be an ethical hero, nor would being an ethical hero change anything in this case. Or would it?

    Indeed they do. Perhaps I want to spare my partner the sad and humiliating truth that I have come to find her unexciting, if not repulsive. Perhaps she finds me so, and we have had no physical relations for years. Perhaps apart from this, we get on well and are happy together. Perhaps both of us are cheaters sparing each other's feelings as best we can.unenlightened

    I think all of this is very interesting and I'm certain many couples feel this way. That said, dishonesty need not be the standard in these situations. I don't think it's utopian to hope that the world can move to a place where people understand this can and does happen, and that we could be honest and caring enough that we allow each other to make the decisions that are best for our individual and collective lives.
    Maybe you're right and they both find each other mutually repulsive; should both of them live lives of dishonesty and desperation because of it? Wouldn't it be better for one or both parties to own up to their feelings and get on with their lives, allowing the other to do so also? I know I painting very complex relationships with a simple brush, but social norms can change over time and these things could become easier, so long as we allow them to.

    How strongly do you believe in this prospective act if you are not willing to claim it personally, by name?Bitter Crank

    I said it somewhere earlier that I cannot identify myself because how I found out would become immediately clear and would damage other relationships. I would have zero qualms coming forward under my own name in this case.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    Supposing that after you have revealed your intrusive interest in the cheatee's and the cheator's personal lives, the cheatee reveals that he is relieved to hear that his wife has taken her insatiable sexual demands to another customer?
  • ProbablyTrue
    188
    For my view, that would be one of the best possible outcomes.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    how I found out would become immediately clear and would damage other relationshipsProbablyTrue

    And here you acknowledge that this sort of truth telling (like the truth of who you are) can damage relationships.

    I still think that one should think long and hard about reporting to people you think have been harmed how they have been harmed. I'll grant that your motives are probably good -- I'm not suspecting you of doing this for malevolent reasons.
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