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Old August 1st, 2014, 10:02 PM   #1
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Can principles be broken? If so, are they still principles?


If nonviolence is a principle of mine, and I kill a man in self defense, have I violated that principle?

If never stealing is a principle of mine, but I steal a small bread roll, because I'm starving, is that breaking my principle?
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Old August 1st, 2014, 10:10 PM   #2
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We live by a lot of rules, some of it self-imposed, and some of it imposed by others. But in times of crisis, morality is bent and broken when we change our mindsets to "do what's necessary (for survival)".
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Old August 1st, 2014, 10:13 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menshevik View Post
If nonviolence is a principle of mine, and I kill a man in self defense, have I violated that principle?

If never stealing is a principle of mine, but I steal a small bread roll, because I'm starving, is that breaking my principle?
Failing to live up to your principles does not mean you have none, it simply means you are imperfect. It can also sometimes mean you hold a contradictory set of principles, in which case you could not live up to all of them even were you perfect.

Generally, as long as we are improving, we are moving in the right direction.
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Old August 1st, 2014, 10:14 PM   #4
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In the worst case scenario, you could be called a hypocrite.
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Old August 1st, 2014, 10:39 PM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menshevik View Post
If nonviolence is a principle of mine, and I kill a man in self defense, have I violated that principle?
Those who advocate total nonviolence are at best naive and at worst hypocritical. They are only able to practice this principle because they are protected by others who perform violent acts on their behalf. eg. Armed forces, police. Therefore it's not a valid principle because it's impossible to adhere to in the first place.


Quote:
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If never stealing is a principle of mine, but I steal a small bread roll, because I'm starving, is that breaking my principle?
No. This principle is not an absolute, same as the one above.
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Old August 1st, 2014, 10:54 PM   #6
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Those who advocate total nonviolence are at best naive and at worst hypocritical. They are only able to practice this principle because they are protected by others who perform violent acts on their behalf. eg. Armed forces, police. Therefore it's not a valid principle because it's impossible to adhere to in the first place.




No. This principle is not an absolute, same as the one above.
Yes! What you say is kinda what I had in mind when I made the thread. I suppose I may not of expressed myself that way though. I very much agree with you.
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Old August 2nd, 2014, 01:12 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menshevik View Post
If nonviolence is a principle of mine, and I kill a man in self defense, have I violated that principle?

If never stealing is a principle of mine, but I steal a small bread roll, because I'm starving, is that breaking my principle?
This is a very deep philosophical matter ...

It's a principal that principals cannot be broken, otherwise they are no more principals [it's the words itself to tell us that they are at the base, they are a starting point ... from Latin "principium"].

But, the evolution of the philosophical conceptualization of "principal" has seen something odd: the differentiation between

* absolute principals [impossible to be broken, just because of their own nature]

* relative principals [which can be broken, since they are relative to something, usually a cultural context].

The concept of "relative principal" can be considered "post-modern" in its approach to the bases of philosophical persuasions. And actually it's not about breaking a principal, but about adapting it to the context [since it's relative it can be adapted].

Just nonviolence can be seen as a relative principal.

Clear, there is a subjective way to adapt a principal, less or more shared [this is why we have got laws to rule our organized societies, because in human mind principals tend to be terribly relative!].

So, personally I consider nonviolence a more absolute principal in active contexts [I use violence first], but well relative in passive contexts [someone else uses violence against me first, so that I'm forced to defend myself or others].
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Old August 2nd, 2014, 08:50 AM   #8

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Well, I'm a big fan of inflicting violence (on worthy causes, of course) and yet if I don't do so, this is (a) against my principle and (b) most would hold that it is an improvement.

As for the bread roll, well, it's surely a principle most people have to not want to die from starvation. As principles go, this outranks the one about not stealing: the lesser of two evils.
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Old August 2nd, 2014, 10:02 AM   #9
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A non-violent person is a person that always tries to find the non-violent alternative. Sometimes that's not possible.
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Old August 2nd, 2014, 10:39 AM   #10

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The only universal law/principle/rule I know of is that there are exceptions to every rule.
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