(urth) "Realistic fiction leaves out too much." - Gene Wolfe

Matthew Knapton eruantien at gmail.com
Sat Apr 30 20:23:07 PDT 2011

Well you're asking a mouthful there. It's certainly meaningful, at least -
what constitutes a morally wrong thing, whether such a thing can be
justified (and how, if so), etc, are all real issues in the field of ethics.
More particularly, Omelas seems like a utilitarian society; a criticism of
it is a criticism of its principles, and there has been plenty of criticism
and discussion of utilitarian ideas over the years.

Whether the story is useful is less easy to say, though even if it is you
can't really move from dismissing it to dismissing the large swathes of
ethics it happens to touch upon :)

On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 3:51 AM, Jeff Wilson <jwilson at io.com> wrote:

> On 4/30/2011 9:29 PM, Matthew Knapton wrote:
>> Well, it's a comment that even when the 'gain' is as huge as it is in
>> Omelas, there's something wrong about the purposeful mistreatment and
>> deprivation of an innocent. Whether you like the story or not, that's
>> undeniably a moral statement, yes.
> But is "there's something wrong about the purposeful mistreatment and
> deprivation of an innocent" a useful or meaningful moral statement? Is the
> wrongness greater or lesser if the mistreatment is without purpose, or if
> the purpose is unknown? Compare Jackson's "The Lottery," and the news items
> about the third-world villages poisoned by 1st world computer waste.
> --
> Jeff Wilson - jwilson at io.com
> Computational Intelligence Laboratory - Texas A&M Texarkana
> < http://www.tamut.edu/CIL >
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