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 Worth of a person

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Ira
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PostSubject: Worth of a person   Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:20 am

Is everyone equal? If not, then what determines the worth of a person? Could it be how respected the person is, how much the person gets out of life, how loved the person is, how greatly the person benefits others, or something else?
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komalram
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PostSubject: Re: Worth of a person   Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:40 pm

Honestly, I'd like to think that we're all equal, that we all deserve the same rights and freedoms. But, there are people that abuse those rights and freedoms. So, I think everyone starts out equal, with no one any better or any worse or of lesser or greater value.
By value, I don't mean their value to any one person, since that would vary immensely, like how a guy would mean more to his wife than to a random dude on the street. Value, in this sense, means this sort of universal value that I think could only be known by some divine being or the universe itself.
But, I think that the actions of a person determine their worth after being born. A person can do a lot of things in his life, some beneficial and some not so beneficial. Becoming a drug addict, finding the cure for cancer, becoming a Youtube celebrity, becoming a crazy old cat lady/man/man-lady, making rubber gloves, the possibilities seem pretty limitless. Since the tendency of man is to always be focused on oneself, the act of giving to others, through time, money, or material possessions, seems to be the greatest means of gaining value as a person.
Of course, the intent of one's actions is far more important, at times, than the action itself. A wealthy man might give millions to charity, however, if he does this for the sake of looking good in the public eye, he doesn't seem all that great or noble to me. Honestly, he seems like more of a jerk because he's using a situation to gain fame and public adoration. The intent of an action truly shows the nature of the person commiting the action, and thus the nature of their value. So, how do we know people's true intent? Either you read minds or know them incredibly well, and even then it's still highly skeptical to be able to tell what a person's really[/i][i] meaning when they do something. Ultimately, they are the only ones who can tell what they honestly mean when they do something. So, for most of the time, we'd have to determine the worth of a person based on their actions, and if possible to derive, their intent.
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Ira
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PostSubject: Re: Worth of a person   Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:27 am

I posted this question because I really don't know what to think about it. I mean, the worth of a person is really dependent on the context you're talking. Like you said, if a poor man gives away all his money and not have done a whole lot of good for others and a rich man gives away a negligible fraction of his money and thereby greatly improving the lives of many, how do you truly judge who is the better person? In a moral context, the poor man is the better person because he made the greater personal sacrifice. On the other hand, utilitarian principles would dictate that the rich man is better. I don't know if there's a logical way to reconcile the opposing departments of determining one's worth. I guess it would be a whole lot easier to forget about what gives a person value and just try not to judge others.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth of a person   Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:10 pm

I don't think a person can really forget about the worth of a person because it's a big part of our society.

Advertisers always try to make you not value yourself to sell you stuff. They tell you you're fat so you buy diet pills, that you're ugly so you'll buy makeup, and other things as well. There's always someone out there trying to knock you down, make you feel like you don't matter and aren't a person, that you're not important and you don't matter. The way people view themselves and others and value those around them can have a huge effect on who they are. People judge everything just by nature. We categorize the world around us in order to make sense. We make a mental note on everything, the book won't bite my hand but the alligator will. People are going to judge people because that's what they do, so I believe that even if you don't want to, there are times when you're going to see someone do something awful and stupid and want to say "man, you're worthless," or something to that effect.

I'd also like to take into account a mix of the utilitarian context and the moral context. The poor man and the rich man aren't on the same playing field, they don't have an equal amount of things they can give. If we were to level the playing field and assume that both had the same amount, the poor man chose to give away all his money while the rich man only gave some. To relate their worth as a person to their material possessions would be giving the wealthy an unfair position as their level of worth would require them to do very little.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth of a person   Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:26 pm

Hmm... I don't really think there is one real "worth of a person", only what that person is worth to you. For example: A woman and her two kids die in a car crash. Her husband, who is also the father of the two kids is absolutely devastated because his family was worth the world to him, where as the people who read about it on the news think "oh, that's awful!" but don't really give it another thought because to them, the mother and her kids weren't really worth as much to them because they didn't know or care for them, or possibly a person watching did know them and was absolutely thrilled when they died because they hated them for some (idk) reason. Of course, there are always other factors that affect their worth to you besides you knowing or not knowing them.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth of a person   Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:31 pm

Looking at the posts above I can assume that the take on this was to put in it in the context of morality and social benefit. But when I look at the question, I get these vague, general ideas on human life. Human life to me can't mean your brother; it can't be divided into who is nice and who is not, it can't be looked at through this lense of our current sensibilities, because it is not restrained to this day and age.
If one was to compare the life of man to some other vague concepts, you would synthesize some philisophical inequalities.
One human life is worth more than one animal life. Whether that human is a serial killer or a saint, he/she has probably eaten meat and therefore declared him/herself superior.
One human life is worth less that one influential idea. People are killed in the name of hate, love, democracy, Jesus and oil.
One human life is equal to another. In civil law, if you kill a man the general reprecussion is a lifetime of prison or death. Socially we may define which human life was more appealing to our sensibilities, and in Christian morality murder is a grave offense, no matter how despicable the victim was.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth of a person   Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:54 pm



--Ira, did you say that a utilitarian would dictate that a rich man is better? Some people in this world have depicted businessmen to be corrupt. With homeless people on the street living on scraps while billionaires live in mansions, a poor man would see little value in a businessman in his life.



--Komal, if you asked someone who needed money for an operation and got that money from the donation, then what would the value of the wealthy man be then? I mean, he helped someone by spending his money for someone else. Motive or not, he did something to help someone else.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth of a person   Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:07 am

To Magickirby; what I had meant when I wrote that was that a utilitarian would see a rich person's act of giving away a significant amount of money at a very small percentage of their total income as a greater act of good than a poor person giving away almost all of their money because the rich person's charity does a greater amount of good for a greater amount of people. This isn't to say that I agree with that logic; personally, I think that the poor person is better morally.
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PostSubject: Re: Worth of a person   Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:33 pm

To Kirby: Well, begrudgingly I admit he did a good thing and does have some merit because of it. But, if in that same scenario a guy with a lot less money gave, I would think much more of him. People without money know the value of money, and those who know that and still give to charity and stuff are worth more than rich people in the same shoes.
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