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  1. #21
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    Wow, somehow I did not imagine the sweet pig-tailed girl opening her arms to embrace the world in front of a polka-dotted elephant and a choo-choo train would say that.
    Heh. Well, when you are quiet and passive and the smallest kid in your class year after year, you get some attitude or you get bullied. I got attitude.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  2. #22
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    Wow, somehow I did not imagine the sweet pig-tailed girl opening her arms to embrace the world in front of a polka-dotted elephant and a choo-choo train would say that.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  3. #23
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Do people still steal? What incentive can you give them not to steal, right as of this moment? Who do you give it to? Everyone?

    I'm talking about practical implementation - if everyone lived a good life, then there would be no punishment. So why not have it anyway? On the other hand, there will always be someone who will do something - are you saying to leave it unpunished?

    It's simple moral calculation - if you net gain from deviant behaviour, then more people become deviant. Socialised behaviour is not strong enough to modify every single person.
    Well you forget that I'm an Idealist and I am looking at this from the perspective that everyone would use good reason if they had all the right positive incentive. In reality, negative incentive is naturally occurring. For example, with drinking we know that it can kill you, cause you health problems, inhibit your judgment, cause you to lose your job, put strains on your family as you become less reliable, and possibly lead you to hurt or kill someone else. Plenty of negative incentive in place there already without jail even being considered and yet people still choose to drink. Many people choose not to drink because of these negative incentives, and the positive incentives of better health, better judgment, being professional, having a good family life, and being an example to other people. So my point is in all practicality, you can't remove negative incentives.

    Rather the point I would try to make is that we should emphasize positive incentives, because they are so much more effective. In our society, what do we tend to do when there is a problem with behavior? The answer is that we go around telling everyone why that behavior is bad, and then we create harsher penalties for doing it. Look how drug sentences have shot up over the years. Does it decrease the number of people arrested for drug crimes? Nope. Do you know what the most effective treatments for alcohol and drug abuse are? Ones that emphasize the positive incentives of leading an alcohol and drug free life, not the consequences of doing so.

    If you can give me an example of how you could design a society in which this is no incentive to steal without some form of negative incentive, I'll admit it is possible. I just don't see how this is possible - even social outcasting is a negative incentive!
    That isn't possible, as no such society could exist in reality. However, I do believe it is possible to use positive incentive much more effectively than negative incentive.


    Yes, but that's like saying that if you steal, you should be punished so you remember not to do it again.

    Or, since if your child runs into the street, there is a high likelyhood he will be hurt, why not say "if you run out there, I will spank you". Then you probably won't have to do it very often, and if you do, it speaks loudly to him and others.
    Really? Why did that person steal? Was he going for a joyride or trying to feed his starving family? Do we want people to remember that they shouldn't do something wrong for the sake of helping others? Those examples aren't exactly comparable. The point I was trying to make there, is punishment can be used, but it should be used with great discretion, keeping in mind the circumstances of the situation. That is one reason why I have never had a great love for "justice". It is blind when it hands out punishment and so people who shouldn't be punished often do.

    It's highly effective at making people do whatever you want - it's overly effective for the normal goals of torture. It sure affects behaviour, however.
    Everything I have learned in psychology would disagree with that assessment. People choose reward over punishment almost every time. It's usually the justification for why they do wrong. But what is effective in controlling people is fear, and once people are no longer afraid of the punishment then it loses most of it's power. One must never make the mistake believing that fear and punishment are the same thing.

  4. #24
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Really? Why did that person steal? Was he going for a joyride or trying to feed his starving family? Do we want people to remember that they shouldn't do something wrong for the sake of helping others? Those examples aren't exactly comparable. The point I was trying to make there, is punishment can be used, but it should be used with great discretion, keeping in mind the circumstances of the situation. That is one reason why I have never had a great love for "justice". It is blind when it hands out punishment and so people who shouldn't be punished often do.
    I see where you are coming from and I actually agree with it conceptually... but that's muddying the waters. Punishment is there to have a negative incentive. We can define punishment however we want, but the purpose remains the same. Conditional punishment is much weaker than absolute punishment.

    Everything I have learned in psychology would disagree with that assessment. People choose reward over punishment almost every time. It's usually the justification for why they do wrong. But what is effective in controlling people is fear, and once people are no longer afraid of the punishment then it loses most of it's power. One must never make the mistake believing that fear and punishment are the same thing.
    It all depends on what you are attempting to influence.

    If you have someone standing over you shocking you every time you swear, you will stop swearing. Negative enforcement is extremely powerful in that situation. If you get a dollar every word you don't swear, it's not very effective - just as if you go x time without swearing, you get a gigantic sum of money will be less effective. Timing of feedback, % of feedback, degree of feedback... it all just depends.

    Some degrees of negative incentives (say, torture) is vastly more effective than almost any possible incentive - you can reach really deep down into the psyche and induce incredible acts, if only in the short term. The only reason it is ineffective is because it goes so deep that you can't be sure what is true or valid to the victim anymore. People will give up gigantic positive incentives if faced with gigantic negative incentives (and in the torture example, those negative incentives can reach beyond self control into automatic rejection). It's not hard to see how this can go - a million dollars, but you die... Not to say that's balanced, but it isn't clear that positive incentives are universally better - a lot depends on how well each can be applied and how much each one is valued (and of course, marginal value comes in too, where rich people don't care about fines as much as poor people, or don't care about positive incentives as much either).

    Pirating is a good example. There really is no positive incentive you can give a corporation - or only a marginal one, generally a plea to morality. However, negative incentives are very powerful (corporations are generally risk matrixed out.)

    All I'm saying is that in certain situations, such as the theft example, you can't really give enough positive incentives to outweigh the power of negative incentives. Loss of job, social status etc are all negative incentives and that's what balances out the action. Negatives incentive go as deep as our biology... evolutionary balances - the morality of stealing comes literally from this balance... humans evolved social orders in just this way. That is the foundation of our society.

    Ideally, yes, people wouldn't need this threat - but without the core threat, there would be no reason not to act in our own interest. It makes us flexible and adaptive (a hard coded rule for private property would be a disaster - we'd have to be communal for that to work).

    I do agree, however, that there are lots of situations where postive incentives work far better than negative incentives (the drinking one was a good example). I'm just saying that retribution and revenge serve a purpose where positive incentives cannot be selective (such as theft, violence, etc).

  5. #25
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Conditional punishment is much weaker than absolute punishment.
    What do you base that conclusion on? I disagree with that 100%, but I'm curious as to your reasoning.

    If you have someone standing over you shocking you every time you swear, you will stop swearing. Negative enforcement is extremely powerful in that situation.
    If you want to get down to the psychological grit, then it's proven that punishment is very effective, in the short term. Meaning in your analogy, that you would stop swearing as much initially, but as you got used to the shock over a period of time, you would continue to swear with increasing frequencey. So of course, to get the same response, they have to increase the amount of punishment.

    If you get a dollar every word you don't swear, it's not very effective - just as if you go x time without swearing, you get a gigantic sum of money will be less effective. Timing of feedback, % of feedback, degree of feedback... it all just depends.
    What? I would like to see what you base this on? Reward studies have found them to be vastly more effective in the long term compared to punishment.

    Some degrees of negative incentives (say, torture) is vastly more effective than almost any possible incentive - you can reach really deep down into the psyche and induce incredible acts, if only in the short term. The only reason it is ineffective is because it goes so deep that you can't be sure what is true or valid to the victim anymore.
    Torture has been found to be very ineffective. That is a psychological fact. People will just lie and tell you what they think you want to know. It's often information that isn't even usable.

    Pirating is a good example. There really is no positive incentive you can give a corporation - or only a marginal one, generally a plea to morality. However, negative incentives are very powerful (corporations are generally risk matrixed out.)
    I don't understand your example. The positive incentive for any company to do anything is money and power.

    All I'm saying is that in certain situations, such as the theft example, you can't really give enough positive incentives to outweigh the power of negative incentives. Loss of job, social status etc are all negative incentives and that's what balances out the action. Negatives incentive go as deep as our biology... evolutionary balances - the morality of stealing comes literally from this balance... humans evolved social orders in just this way. That is the foundation of our society.
    I didn't disagree with this. I only said that the negative incentives are not nearly as effective as the positive ones. I believe there is just as much a biological basis in the seeking of reward despite punishment.

    Ideally, yes, people wouldn't need this threat - but without the core threat, there would be no reason not to act in our own interest. It makes us flexible and adaptive (a hard coded rule for private property would be a disaster - we'd have to be communal for that to work).
    Again, I don't disagree.

    I do agree, however, that there are lots of situations where postive incentives work far better than negative incentives (the drinking one was a good example). I'm just saying that retribution and revenge serve a purpose where positive incentives cannot be selective (such as theft, violence, etc).
    I disagree. I believe there are many, many cases, if not the majority, in violence and theft where positive incentive is much more effective than negative. I know firsthand because there have been times when I would not have had any problem going to jail for hitting someone, but I chose not to simply because I wanted to be the better person.

    But the entire point, that I can't tell whether or not you are agreeing with, is that, wherever possible, positive incentives should be used over negative. Do you disagree?

    Also, I believe punishment should only be used with the greatest discretion toward the circumstances in order for it to maintain any degree of effectiveness in the long term.

  6. #26
    Senior Member aeon's Avatar
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    Human beings seek to have their needs met, in the best way they know how, with the resources available to them.

    Sometimes that means revenge and retaliation, and no, it isn't that simple, but almost.


    cheers,
    Ian

  7. #27
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I'm not like GW Bush!!!

    yes- I happily seek vengance when wronged- it's much better than sitting around and thinking about what went wrong! I also tend to make my vengance rather public, so that people can talk about it for a while and everyone can get a warning that you don't mess with me!

    On the other hand, I disapprove of the war. Damn you Kiddo for making me feel like a hypocrite!

    (plotting vengance against Kiddo now)
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  8. #28
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    I'm not like GW Bush!!!

    yes- I happily seek vengance when wronged- it's much better than sitting around and thinking about what went wrong! I also tend to make my vengance rather public, so that people can talk about it for a while and everyone can get a warning that you don't mess with me!

    On the other hand, I disapprove of the war. Damn you Kiddo for making me feel like a hypocrite!

    (plotting vengance against Kiddo now)
    The thing about the war is that it wasn't an even and correctly directed retaliation. It isn't really a retaliation at all, IMO. It has very little, if anything, to do with the terrorist attacks besides providing a politically acceptable excuse for what war normally is: armed robbery on a grand scale.

    It's almost as if Vizzini didn't actually die from the iocane tainted wine.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  9. #29
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    I really only skimmed the posts to this point, but imo, it really is a negative incentive, as pt is saying. Revenge/Retaliation is generally used for multiple reasons:

    1. make the original victim feel better
    2. punishment of the original transgressor
    3. make sure it doesn't happen again

    Can it create a vicious cycle? Yes, but life isn't perfect. How something should be isn't necessarily how it could be.

    Think Man On Fire.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  10. #30
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    The thing about the war is that it wasn't an even and correctly directed retaliation. It isn't really a retaliation at all, IMO. It has very little, if anything, to do with the terrorist attacks besides providing a politically acceptable excuse for what war normally is: armed robbery on a grand scale.

    It's almost as if Vizzini didn't actually die from the iocane tainted wine.
    Except, I think when people normally rob others, they get more money than they lose.

    I believe the war was mostly "justified" by the threat of WMDs. The whole terrorism thing was just an added benefit.

    Americans! Making the world safer for other Americans by bombing people, occupying their country, and losing several Americans to suicide bombings every month! That is the American way!

    Yeah, I would say the war in Iraq had more to do with letting a bunch of fundamentalist Christians go after a bunch of fundamentalist Muslims. And then you throw oil into the equation...but that is a different thread.

    My point is that Americans obviously let themselves get riled up with the idea of revenge. Now when I read the Bible is says a little something about turning the other cheek, or those without sin casting the first stone, or judging not ye be judged, or even thou shall not kill. But none of those have anything to do with gay marriage so I guess they aren't all that important. :rolli: What alternatives did the Bible suggest for when we are wronged? Love and forgiveness? Even though that is a considerably great philosophy, people just don't seem to find those as fun as getting theirs. It makes humans seem kindof hypocritical as an entire species.

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