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Ethics: Truth vs Humanity?

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Those poor, helpless little baby monkeys. Harlow strikes me as a pretty heartless and cruel chap, who didn't give the slightest hint of a damn about the suffering he inflicted on all of those animals. I want to be angry with him, to resent him, to believe that he shouldn't have done it.

But if he hadn't - we may still be oblivious to the concepts of attachment, or at least, have no real scientific evidence that pointed to the validity of the idea. We may still have believed that we should emotionally distance ourselves from our children, and we may have continued to downplay the importance of those early bonds for our later ability to function socially.

So perhaps... we need people who don't care for other beings. Perhaps we need people who, whether through rationalising or simply the lack of conscience, don't feel guilty for inflicting suffering on others. Who don't care for the ever more rigorous constraints of ethical guidelines.

If the choice is between human decency and the truth, what should we choose? Does the end justify the means?

I'm somewhat worried that this line of thought will lead to me being some kind of psych-student super-villain some 10 years down the line. At least if that happens, I hope that I discover something truly ground-breaking and important before my status is revoked tongueout

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Personally the end never justifies the means but I'm not a utilitarian (actually I think hardly anybody else is when decisions affecting themselves become difficult, there are definitely exceptions though).

I think it's pretty uncontroversial now to say that users of abusive material are themselves complicit in the abuse, although unconnected with it taking place.  If you agree, would that impact on your post?

Philosophy is a slippery thing!