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Actions or Character?

A person should be judged by their...


  • Total voters
    7

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
I think this belongs in Philosophy/Psych...I randomly thought of this topic today and realized (from what I can see) that it hasn't been discussed before.

Should a person be judged more based on the content of his/her character, or on what actions he/she commits?

This is a topic that makes "both" an easy answer for some (including myself), but I'm only including "actions" and "character" in the poll.

Please explain the reasoning behind your choice, and by all means include examples and hypothetical situations for discussion. I'm hoping to get some good debate/differing ideas in the mix here!
 

ExpectantlyIronic

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I don't see how you can distinguish between the two.
 

Dabs

Registered Member
I don't see how you can distinguish between the two.
I feel the same...I'm not sure I could give a definitive answer. I mean, a person's actions depends on their character and vice versa. That's a tough one!
 

Wade8813

Registered Member
A person's character determines what actions they'll take, and we discern their character based on their actions. How do you separate them?
 

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
Can nobody think of the case of a good-hearted person doing a bad thing?

Let's say a homeless child stealing a loaf of bread for his little brother, that's kind of a classic case. Should the act of committing a crime define that kid as immoral, or are they moral for trying to take care of his brother during desperate times? This is just an example off of the top of my head to try and differentiate.

Is it more important that the child has stolen, or that he is trying to help keep his little brother healthy/alive with his intentions?

A person's character determines what actions they'll take, and we discern their character based on their actions. How do you separate them?
Isn't that sort of black and white, Wade?

If we're talking extreme actions, I can see what you guys mean. Like in the case of terrorism. But I really wasn't thinking on a huge scale. What about good kids getting caught up in gang violence, for example? A great and loving mother who has an affair?

lol someone else help me out with some examples, here.
 

Smelnick

Creeping On You
V.I.P.
I've always figured it impossible to consider a persons actions as a definition of their character and vice versa. The things a person does, are not who a person is. If I steal something from a store, that doesn't make me a thief. It makes me a person who stole something from the store. It's not in my nature to steal, and anyone who knows me, wouldn't questions my character, they'd question my actions. Actions and character are two different things.
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
I lean much more towards action.
An affair is always an affair. Doesn't matter what your partner is doing, its your actions.

Stealing is always stealing.

Cold blooded murder is always murder and it doesn't matter if I'm a nice guy or a racist. Hate crimes is a ridiculous idea.
 

Dabs

Registered Member
Can nobody think of the case of a good-hearted person doing a bad thing?

Let's say a homeless child stealing a loaf of bread for his little brother, that's kind of a classic case. Should the act of committing a crime define that kid as immoral, or are they moral for trying to take care of his brother during desperate times? This is just an example off of the top of my head to try and differentiate.

Is it more important that the child has stolen, or that he is trying to help keep his little brother healthy/alive with his intentions?



lol someone else help me out with some examples, here.
To me, the child taking a loaf of bread to feed him and his brother, is the biggest concern. The child probably knows it's wrong anyway, but takes the chance to get food for the family.
There is a difference between this stealing and the go into a small food store and shouting "Gimme all your damn money!" That stealing is much worse than the prior I mentioned. That's just my opinion anyway.
 

Smelnick

Creeping On You
V.I.P.
I was pondering on this last night while getting to sleep. If someone wrongs me, I'll hate the action that they did, such as stealing, or harming me, however, I won't hate the person. I never hate on the person performing the action, because I never know the reasoning behind it. It coudl be a good person, having been coerced by his life situation or some other person, into doing what he's doing. In the case of let's say a fender bender. Or someone says something insulting. They could be good people, who never intended to cause pain, but it happened.

I think, if we view someones actions as seperate from their character, and judge them based on who they are, instead of what they do, we'll be less quick to throw people to the wolves. It goes a long ways towards helping people out of tough spots, or if anything, you'll be more respected.
 

shelgarr

Registered Member
I can differentiate. My actions are not always in line with my character. I have super high standards (ie character), but so high that I can't always uphold (actions) them....or better said I can't always uphold all aspects of them. It's too much effort and I've become lazy. Plus, I don't care as much about the outside world and their opinion or reaction. In that way I can direct my energies and concentration on what goes on in my home, my husband, my kids and their lives. It's required that I simplify.

An example of letting my actions slip despite my character is work ethic. I feel strongly about being reliable and high quality. Yet, I've let my reputation decline with clients. Why? Burn out! However, at the same time I've been able to give the schools, track team, help toward friends, fitness, and tennis my attention. It requires dependability, efficiency, good attitude, study, management ... which are all actions that are in line with my character.

My biggest philosophy is do what I say, and say what I do. It's all about integrity and I clearly represent integrity in most every way. I am not motivated pursue career right now (even though I really should!) so that is one thing that I neglect.
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Just to add a little more. I know people that repeatedly portray (actions) poor character. Yet, there are many that don't see them in the same way I do. Empty words, empty promises, empty commitments irritate the hell out of me. If on occassion someone can't follow through, but normally do, then it is easily to forgive because I can trust they are legitimate.

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This topic reminds me of the Hitler and evil thread we have. There are so cultures/societies in history and presently that think their race is superior. Hitler somehow found the power to commit atrocities/actions (however we see it in the present day as well) and therefore is interpreted as evil/character.
 
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