We often hear that we can't say something due to causing offence.

offense


1.  a violation or breaking of a social or moral rule;transgression; sin.
2.  a transgression of the law; misdemeanor.
3.  a cause of transgression or wrong.
4.  something that offends or displeases.
5.  the act of offending or displeasing.

So it would seem that we are being chastised into submission for transgressing a moral rule.  

So is it immoral to express opinions based on rational thought?

 

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Replies to This Discussion

The recent Indian court case took this one step further and decided that material on the internet offensive to religious sensibilities was illegal and must be removed. We don’t yet know how Facebook and others will respond to this clear breach of free speech principles. One thing notable about this case is how the judge bought the argument that offensive material (e.g. portraying Mohamed) actually caused damage. This is utter nonsense. If everything that offended us actually damaged us, we would all be dead or on disability. I personally find religious nuts trying to impose their morals on me offensive. But it is not illegal. What this all shows is how weak and insecure religious people are. I say, screw them. When appropriate, say what you think. If people are offended then that’s their problem.

Everyone has the right to be offended, its rather vital to critical thinking ----no?

James - "I got rights" - I still don't understand this concept - I think it an American thing - which was later brought in by feminism in the 70's....  I don't believe we where born with any rights - rights is just a construct, similar perhaps to moral values.

Hi Alice, rights are what the individual makes his/her social contract for, if you abide by the rules of any given society that society assures you its protection, break the contract and you go to jail or, are simply driven away. Your right, morality is a myth if you like, or a construct. The construct varies a little from one society to the next. There are however more similarities than differences due in part a least to the fact that we all have a common biology, and we all have a driving self interest in the welfare of that biology. 

James - OK - so rights are what you get for being a good citizen?

Mark - I heard the images where pornography with Gods!  Go figure...

Generally, the simple act of offending someone would not amount to a breach of any duty of care toward another person at law and therefore would not give rise to a claim for compensatory damages against the offending person.

In some jurisdictions criminal sanctions are imposed on what people say or do such as anti-discrimination legislation.

Is it immoral to express opinions based on rational thought ? Well, I wouldn't think so but an area of collision could possibly be Social Darwinism and any other philosophy that can wear the 'rational thought' tag.

Napoleon - so on that point I take that it is not OK to use rational thought to justify violence?  As it's not Social Darwinism per se that is immoral, it is the consequential justifications for promoting the violence of: eugenicsscientific racismimperialism,[2] fascismNazism that is immoral.

Social Darwinism is a term commonly used for theories of society that emerged in England and the United States in the 1870s, seeking to apply the principles of Darwinian evolution to sociology and politics.[1] It especially refers to notions of struggle for existence being used to justify social policies which make no distinction between those able to support themselves and those unable to support themselves. The most prominent form of such views stressed competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism but it is also connected to the ideas of eugenicsscientific racismimperialism,[2] fascismNazism and struggle between national or racial groups.[3][4]

I'm taking from this so far that so long as my intentions are not to harm - but to educate, be kind or extend friendship - I can do and say what I like.

I was just giving a general legal overview for your discussion and briefly addressed your question.

I think your question about 'morality' is a seperate and complex issue. I'm not your advisor.

Napoleon - LOL - I wasn't asking for legal advice :)  just a turn of phrase to ask your opinion...

It wouldn't be nice if we can't say and do what we like as rational thinkers.

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