Your argument is very eloquent and the points made are balanced in terms of representing both sides of the argument! The application to wider contexts (WWII) was great. I also liked the use of a philosopher to back up your point, and the many religious references because it really does sound very sophisticated and researched.(Original post by veeraxox)
Is murder ever a rational act?
Murder is defined as willingly taking another person’s life without their consent, as opposed to manslaughter, when someone accidentally kills another or voluntary euthanasia, taking someone’s life with their consent. Throughout history, all civilised societies condemned the murder of another citizen. In all religious teachings, murder is punishable by some form of suffering in the afterlife. However, just because murder can be perceived as ‘immoral’ does not mean that murder is always irrational. From a deontological viewpoint, murder can be both rational and moral if taking someone’s life can save more lives. Therefore, murder can be a rational act under some circumstances.
In Abrahamic religions, murder is seen as a grave sin because they believe that only God has the power to take someone’s life. Therefore, if one commits murder, they are being both irrational and immoral by disobeying God and thus condemning themselves to an afterlife suffering in Hell. However, the religious teachings are rife with examples of bloodshed and violence against rival groups. Moreover, the doctrine of Holy War, found in all Abrahamic religions, allows followers to go to war as long as it meets certain criteria. Those criteria include going to war as a means of self-defence and protecting allied countries from invasion. Therefore, even from a religious viewpoint, murder can be seen as a rational act as long as it meets certain criteria, usually as a means of self-defence against rival groups.
Nevertheless, the philosopher Kants believed that some acts such as murder should never be committed because he thought that people should not treat others as a means to an end but ends in themselves. Therefore, from a Kantian viewpoint, murder would be irrational because murder destroys relationships between people, which are supposed to be ends in themselves. Moreover, if many people in a society believed that murder was acceptable, society would stop functioning because people would have no qualms about murdering each other. Therefore, murder would be irrational if it were accepted in a society since the society would cease to function.
However, it would be irrational to claim that murder is unacceptable in every circumstance. Even if society condemned murder as unacceptable and punished the murderers, some would still commit murder for various reasons. Therefore, if one finds himself about to be murdered or his loved ones threatened by a murderer ,then it would be perfectly rational to stop the murderer by any means necessary. On a wider scale, it could even be argued that in order to stop more people from being killed, for example in a war, one has to annihilate the enemy. For example, the Americans dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan in order to end World War Two and thus stop future casualties since Japan refused to surrender.
In conclusion, murder is irrational in most circumstances when the murderer’s life is not under threat from other people. This is because there are usually more peaceful, pro-social ways of achieving one’s aim than murdering another person, which is a permanent, irreversible decision. However, when one finds others life in immediate danger, one would be rational in murdering and thus elimination the threat to prevent more suffering.
Possible criticisms - overuse of 'moreover' and 'therefore', since it made the argument's structure a little repetitive and stilted. Also while the WWII reference was good, I feel like you could have went in to more depth with it as you did with the religion paragraph earlier.
Overall, a very good argument!
Can you please give contructive feedback on the way I argued in this essay? Watch
- Thread Starter
For example 'moreover' should be substituted with 'for example' in the following extract:
However, the religious teachings are rife with examples of bloodshed and violence against rival groups. Moreover, the doctrine of Holy War, found in all Abrahamic religions, allows followers to go to war as long as it meets certain criteria.