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Thread: The Gold Coin

  1. #31
    Anew Leaf
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    This is a true story.

    We bought a fix-me-upper house about three years ago. It's costing us some serious cash. While doing the renovations we recently found a small brown box shoved to the back of a tall cupboard shelf.

    Inside the box was a gold coin:



    Wonderful, eh? Current value of the coin is about $1000 USD.

    Also inside the box was a receipt from the purchase of the coin and purchaser of the coin was the lady we bought the house from. She's retired and lives in a small assisted living community in our neighborhood. There's no doubt it was hers.

    So, would you keep the coin or return it?

    And why?
    My decision: I would give it back.

    My reasoning: If one's morals or ethics require semantics in order to function, then maybe they aren't really morals or ethics.

  2. #32
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    Another vote for giving it back/taking it to her.
    There are enough injustices in the world without my adding to them. To keep it would be akin to aligning myself with all the wrong that already exists.


    EDIT: @PeaceBaby are you having a discussion about this at home too? I'm not sure if you are trying to justify keeping it for yourself or if you are in disagreement with someone else who does. So basically...why have you started this thread?
    "We knew he was someone who had a tragic flaw, that's where his greatness came from"

  3. #33
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    I forgot to answer the "why?".

    It's not mine. The only circumstances under which I would consider keeping it are if, when I brought it to her, she told me to keep it, or if she were dead and I had no way to find her relatives to give it to them. If she had been a jerk, I would entertain the thought of keeping it, but would still give it back because it's not mine.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

  4. #34
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    I already placed my assessment, but I want to point out that I can definitely see many reasons to just keep it, and I don't think keeping it would be "bad" or "wrong." She did sell the house, and as I understand that means that everything still in it at the time of purchase becomes the property of the new owner.

    If you want to be "extra nice" or saintly or whatnot you could go out of your way to return, but I don't see any need/imperative/requirement to do so. If she lived further away, or you didnt know where she lived, would you be as concerned about it?

    Do what you want, I just wanted to point out that I don't see any "need" to return it.

  5. #35
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lux View Post
    This is interesting to me, because there is no answer.. right away, and there may never be. But!

    I would sleep on it, and if it were my first thought in the morning (with me though, it probably would be more like 2 AM) if I felt 'good' or 'bad' I would pay attention to that. If I felt neutral (which I probably would) .. then I have no idea. Good luck in your question.

    ** So unhelpful, I know.
    No it was a good post, I liked it.

    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I would keep it and not sell it. Don't think she'll miss it. Doesn't matter much either way though.

    Why? I don't know. It's sort of tied to the history of the house or something.
    Interesting perspective, I like this too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Within View Post
    Sell it, free cash is pretty rare to come by.


    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    @PeaceBaby, did SHE know the house had problems and stick you with them or did she to the best of her knowledge notify you of what you were getting into?
    Oh it was a fix-me-upper, no doubt there. But no malicious intent either and we bought it as is where is.

    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I think if you buy a house, you get what's in it. It includes the fixtures, appliances, safe in the wall, gold coins in the cupboard - whatever is there.
    Legally yes, this is accurate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saturned View Post
    My decision: I would give it back.

    My reasoning: If one's morals or ethics require semantics in order to function, then maybe they aren't really morals or ethics.
    But the semantics are what's of interest here.

    Let's say you prayed to the powers of the universe to send you a thousand dollars so you could afford a medical procedure, and *poof* you find the coin. Is this an answer to prayer, or karmic temptation?

    There are shades of grey to me but to you it seems pretty black and white then?

    Quote Originally Posted by HelenOfTroy View Post
    Another vote for giving it back/taking it to her.
    There are enough injustices in the world without my adding to them. To keep it would be akin to aligning myself with all the wrong that already exists.



    are you having a discussion about this at home too? I'm not sure if you are trying to justify keeping it for yourself or if you are in disagreement with someone else who does. So basically...why have you started this thread?
    Just interested to hear everyone's thoughts, unravel the moral semantics. The decision on what to do has already been made.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    I forgot to answer the "why?".

    It's not mine. The only circumstances under which I would consider keeping it are if, when I brought it to her, she told me to keep it, or if she were dead and I had no way to find her relatives to give it to them. If she had been a jerk, I would entertain the thought of keeping it, but would still give it back because it's not mine.
    Appreciate your perspective as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott N Denver View Post
    I already placed my assessment, but I want to point out that I can definitely see many reasons to just keep it, and I don't think keeping it would be "bad" or "wrong." She did sell the house, and as I understand that means that everything still in it at the time of purchase becomes the property of the new owner.

    If you want to be "extra nice" or saintly or whatnot you could go out of your way to return, but I don't see any need/imperative/requirement to do so. If she lived further away, or you didnt know where she lived, would you be as concerned about it?

    Do what you want, I just wanted to point out that I don't see any "need" to return it.
    Thanks Scott for your thoughts, I appreciate your candor.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
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    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  6. #36
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Go halfsies on it
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  7. #37
    Senior Member Gish's Avatar
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    I'd give it back, 1000$ isn't much money at all, plus she's probably miserable being in a assisted living home. i bet it'd cheer her up.
    Whoops.

  8. #38
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    This is a true story.

    We bought a fix-me-upper house about three years ago. It's costing us some serious cash. While doing the renovations we recently found a small brown box shoved to the back of a tall cupboard shelf.

    Inside the box was a gold coin:



    Wonderful, eh? Current value of the coin is about $1000 USD.

    Also inside the box was a receipt from the purchase of the coin and purchaser of the coin was the lady we bought the house from. She's retired and lives in a small assisted living community in our neighborhood. There's no doubt it was hers.

    So, would you keep the coin or return it?

    And why?
    Return it. It's hers. Ethics don't need very much rationale; if you know the situation then you either do or you don't. Maybe if you're lucky, she would show some charity in turn.

  9. #39
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    I'm wondering what people's answers would be if the situation was reversed? If you were the one who left the gold coin behind, would you want whoever found it to return it?
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

  10. #40
    Senior Member durentu's Avatar
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    Keep the gold coin and don't sell it until there's a major "banking holiday"

    The previous owner left it there and it was sold with the house. Also, it's "abandoned property". If it was important to her, she would have made sure she got it.

    In the long run, that gold coin is better in your hands that in hers because her contribution to society is done. Now it's your turn to contribute to society, and that gold coin will be better in your hands, than in hers.

    In other words - Pay it forward.

    If the situation was reversed, I wouldn't bitch about it. My fault for not being responsible.
    "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates." - Thomas Szasz

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