I think the mini-mart parallel is appropriate. Card players should expect to occasionally lose. And people working at the mini-mart, maybe to help their family with honest labor, should expect to eventually be held up by people unlike me or my neighbor, perhaps by otherwise admirable -- or "admirable", depending on your definition -- crooks.
Well, I disagree with you that clerks at a mini-mart should expect to be held up. I agree when it comes to expecting to lose, I personally don't gamble with money I'm not willing to lose.
I suppose it is a question of the risk, working at a mini-mart isn't a risk like gambling is, after all, that's why we call it gambling.
Now if you want to say that business is a risk, that's quite another matter.
Yes, but they would probably EXPECT to lose or win based on individual mental effort, and accident, including the luck of the draw or HAPPENING to flash their carelessly held cards. They would probably NOT EXPECT the use of physical devices (edge-marked cards or a real weapon) or signalling to friends or using prearranged cards, to be used for INTENTIONALLY gaining unexpected advantage.
You are right. But that's where my line of questioning came up, where do you draw the line? Steve Forte has some great material on tells, the process of using psychological procedures to get the dealer emotionally involved in the game, for or against you, do people expect to have such things used against them? Does their expectation make the difference? If I go to a card game and I expect the people to use every method they know of including "cheating" (again, the term is questionable, how much of advantage play is cheating?), does that make the cheating right? To my mind, no, it does not. So then what do the expectations of those players matter?
One way to draw a line between two definitions of morality -- or maybe one of fair play and one of cheating -- is to look at the expectations that most players would bring to that game.
Well, there are a few problems, first, you don't know the expectations of others. Second, not everyone's expectations are the same. Some people have a very cynical view of society where they view everyone as trying to cheat, some people excuse this, others do not. Heck, while we're on the subject, there are a great many people who believe gambling at all is immoral. So how can you say?
For the record, I'd suggest to you that you can't, that there isn't some defining moment in morality where the action crosses over from being moral to immoral, that doesn't mean there isn't morality and immorality, but rather that it isn't determined by crossing some magical line.
Whatever they are, the rules they would all have agreed to -- if they had been spelled out before the game -- would draw the line between fair play and cheating in that particular game.
You're right, fundamentally, breaking the rules is cheating, whether breaking the rules is immoral is another question. I would point out though that rarely do people sit down and discuss these issues prior to playing the game, so can you really say in the absence of such clear discussion?
Yes, and people try to keep an eye on businesses that do that, too.
Thank you for your response here. I would throw one other side of things out to you though. What determines the value of things? I'll give you an example, I know of a helicopter company that got hired out on short notice to a major oil company that required their services. They charged them four times the regular rate. Was this stealing? When questioned about it the oil executives basically shrugged and said "well, we needed it". The reality is that they could have paid more, they needed it more than they were charged, but the company overcharged, was it stealing? I've been involved in fixing mistakes for major companies that are costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars per day and yet end up charging a fraction of that, basically the charge out rate is the regular rate, would it be stealing to take advantage of the position the company is in and charge more? It would probably be good business. It would encourage them to improve in the future because their mistakes were costing them more. What I'm saying is simply that things don't generally have intrinsic value, anyone who has studied economics will tell you of supply and demand, something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. A ghost in a jar will sell for $20 000 on ebay, is it worth it?
See what I'm getting at here?
Thanks for your clarifications.
Can such a person continually flaunt the law, cheat their fellow man, break the rules of the game, and still be considered an admirable person, once the facts are known?
Yes, they can...but who is admirable and who is not isn't a fixed standard, it's a personal viewpoint of an individual. I know people who think Mother Teresa was practically the most saintly person to walk the earth, definitely admirable, I also know people who think very little of her, so is/was she admirable? To the one person yes, to the other person no. Look at how people regard Steve Forte, Walter Irving Scott and others, people who have, you could easily argue, cheated, stolen from others, yet still they are regarded with admiration. There isn't a fixed standard, it isn't some simple yes and no question. I don't personally know Steve, but if nothing else, I admire his card handling, it's superb and I am very confident that a person is not a single act or even the sum of numerous acts, you can admire that person in one regard while finding disappointment in them in others.
Admirable only to others of like minds, perhaps. I may admire their skill or their nerve, but I wouldn't expect that many would find them admirable human beings, no matter how nice they are to their children.
And that's your perspective, but it's important to recognize that it is your perspective and not a global perspective, people are not so simple. Which is what I stated initially.
I'd suggest that ongoing dishonest behaviour is to a person's character as substandard steel girders are to a bridge. Even if some of the steel passes inspection, the flawed girders in the foundation make it a bridge I wouldn't trust.
And that viewpoint is totally understandable. It's also easy to understand other sides of it though. Try going and living in a ghetto, not being able to find work for days on end, having a family to support, seeing people making money off drugs all around you, noticing that the gambling the goes on always seems to be crooked, see how that changes things.
Substitute the words "cheat at cards" in your premise and conclusion with "rob a mini-mart" or "do honest work" or "sell bootleg magic DVDs" or "cheat on my taxes" or "conduct insider trading" etc results in the same unconvincing weak argument.
Sir, I understand what you're saying, but I don't think it holds up. I am confident you believe murder is wrong. Is self defense? Is a soldier killing someone in a war wrong? Is hitting someone with your car and killing them when you are driving home and tired wrong? What about if they rush out in front of you?
It is somewhat unfortunate, because in an attempt to play fair at cards you might throw away your every advantage, you might choose not to play the psychology, you might not peek at the cards etc. etc. etc. And you'll lose. This is basically what happens at casinos. Are you playing to lose?
How about business, if your competitor slips up and is floundering it is good business to push in and try to exploit that situation, to make your business grow, I'm not going to condemn you for doing that. On the other hand, I can totally respect and appreciate that someone who sees their competitor floundering for whatever reason might not push but let up a little, maybe even go to the individual and help them out because they want to be kind, that seems like an admirable practice to me...but that person will also end up broke in the majority of cases, his business will fail and his family will starve. Ideally we would do the later and others would look out and recognize this, they would treat us accordingly and help us out when we in turn were in times of need, but it often doesn't work out that way, so I can fully understand that someone wouldn't do this. Do you see what I'm getting at?
It's easy for middle class and wealthy people to sit at home and talk about how you should work for a living, about how you shouldn't steal, about how a myriad of things are wrong, and if they can live up to the standards, more power to them, but the world is a different place for some and I think it's important to have empathy for that.
I don't want to get too thick into ethics, but I think that simplistic ethics are a virtue of a sheltered existance.
Let's get real simple here - Right vs. Wrong. Common folk such as myself think that Cheating is Wrong. Do you agree? Am I misunderstanding your position that Cheating can be justified, under some circumstances, as morally Right?
I'm going to be careful in what I say here so that you don't misunderstand me. Morality is solely between man and God, what is moral and how we treat someone or should treat them with the law are two very different things. Should cheating be punished? Yes. Should society decry cheating? Yes. Will God condemn you for cheating? Not necessarily. In regards to God's side of things, I believe in virtue ethics (again, this isn't an ethics forum, if you're interested you can email me or look it up, I'm sure there is plenty of information available).
So when you ask that question, do I think it is wrong? Well, do I think it should be wrong in the eyes of society and the law? Yes. In the eyes of God? No, I don't believe God will judge you based simply on what you've done, he knows what is in your heart, your mind etc. There are some very moral people, kind, loving, caring etc. who cheat, people who are trying to do the best they can, which is where my comments above arose, you the view that you must be void of a conscience in order to cheat is simply false.
Do we have an understanding?