How does one respond to someone who just doesn't care?

Whenever faced with moral issues or similar kinds, there are always those who don’t give a damn one way or the other. For example, I just can’t logically argue against hedonism, dishonesty, relativism, etc., because I don’t know how. Why is sexual objectification immoral when you still uphold respect for others outside of that context? Why is cheating on a test wrong when you’ve acquired the same knowledge in a generally more efficient way, with far less effort on your part? Why should I care what anyone else thinks about something when I think differently?

There’s something about each of these that seems wrong in some way shape or form, but I can’t put my finger on it. Throw some other examples out there if you want.

You acquired the knowledge, but you didn’t learn it. That hurts you. As for others, they put in the effort and played by the rules, but you broke the rules and still get to share in the reward. It goes against most people’s sense of fairness.

Sounds like the definition of a sociopath, which you’re free to be if you so desire. But most of us at the very least try to act civil to each other, because most people are social to some degree, empathetic, and wouldn’t want others to treat us that way.

It would make for a pretty crappy society if everybody went around thinking about themselves, not giving a crap about others. At least, I wouldn’t want to live in a world like that.

Because you didn’t aquire the same knowledge. Sure, you now know the answer is C, but you still don’t know why it is C, and you don’t know how to work out if the answer to another question is also C, unless you cheat again.


Some of those things don’t need to be argued against. If you don’t care about them, why do you feel you should argue against them?

It’s disrespectful on its own.

The point of cheating, usually, is that you don’t bother to learn the material (that takes too long and requires work) and just figure out an easy way to put the correct answers in the essay or on the test, perhaps by copying someone else’s work. It’s wrong because you are misrepresenting yourself and in essence claiming you know the material when you don’t, and gives you potential advantage over people who did the work the hard way.

Maybe you shouldn’t. There are times it is necessary and a good idea to pay attention to the opinions of others, but sometimes you don’t need to.

This is not only wrong, it’s flagrantly, absurdly wrong. This is why sociopath is becoming one of our most overused words. Look up any definition of sociopath and you will not find “doesn’t care about other people’s opinions” anywhere in it. (Nevermind the fact that nobody chooses to be a sociopath.) Sociopaths lack empathy and can’t relate to other people, which I suspect is what you were implying about that question. But that’s not what the OP appears to be discussing. He’s asking why he needs to care about other people’s opinions, not their lives or their suffering or their needs. At most, it could be selfish and callous, but it’s a legitimate question.

Respecting the opinions of people close to us is useful in communication and in getting along with people. But I think part of maturing is realizing that you don’t have to care what everybody thinks, and doing so can be detrimental. It’s not possible to make everyone like you - generally it’s children who want to make everybody happy all the time and have approval from everyone. That’s not a coincidence. Some opinions need to be respected for social reasons or for respect for the methods that lead to the opinion. Opinions that get pulled out of people’s asses aren’t worthy of much respect.

My mother’s whole life was and is based around “what the neighbors will think”. I generally just don’t care. I live in society, and I cheerfully obey its rules, but I won’t obey its mores unless I think I need to or if I believe them. I just don’t care what people think of me.

I have called myself a hedonist before, and while I do not fit the lifestyle to a tee - who could? as much as possible it is something I adopt. Life is to be enjoyed, not agonized over. I only get one go-round and no one is going to give me another chance.

Mind you I don’t actually think this way, I’m just creating questions that I can’t answer when someone doesn’t care. To expand upon the example of cheating, someone who doesn’t care will recognize that tests in say British literature are irrelevant to his pursuit of theoretical physics, so by cheating, he beats out those who study hard and comes out on top of his class. He will then focus all his energy on studying his field. I will say, “That is immoral,” and he will say, “So?” and I don’t know what to say. Isn’t that lack of conscience advantageous? It may be unfair, but why should he care?

It probably is. Like I said earlier, you probably can’t convince someone like that to care about this kind of thing. It’s possible the cheating will bite him in the ass later, but it’s not a certainty.


Make fun of them in a way that either gets everyone else to laugh at them or makes them feel sheepish.

For the most part the only reason to engage with people who just don’t care is for the sake of anyone else who might be listening, not for the sake of the apathetic idiot you’re speaking to.


That seems to fit the argument in the OP pretty well (note, I am not calling the OP a sociopath).

If you’re focusing on the cheating example alone, I guess I can see where that fits into the profile, but the other traits - not caring about the opinions of others, moral relativism, hedonism - don’t make for a sociopath on their own. Ignoring opinions and cheating on a test is still a pretty far cry from a more famous sociopathic traints like total lack of concern for human life, manipulativeness and arrogance.

Yeah, well, I don’t care what you think.

I know one way we can solve this.

Hey, Chakra, picture this: A woman goes to her mother’s funeral and meets a really attractive guy…

When dealing with someone who does not care, you have to determine how much you care about their behavior, and what you are willing to do to make them care - or at least to make them act like they care. For example, if you care about their transgression more than you care about being hunted by the police afterwards, there are several methods available to make a person care quite a lot - about anything.

Two things. First, an academic cheater rarely has reason to care whether they learn the material or not. If they have any reason at all, it’s usually limited to the potential use of that material in future classes. I can just about guarantee that students in my calculus class will never need to take a definite integral by hand after leaving my class, unless they take another calculus class in college. In the rare cases of those who choose a career where calculus is relevant, they’ll have integration tables and calculators to do the work for them. So students who cheat on the test that covers integration don’t really lose anything by skipping the material.

When they do cheat, they learn things that they’ll actually use. If they learn how to successfully cheat, lie, dissemble, misrepresent themselves, cover up evidence, and gain unearned advantages, then they’ve learned skills that can serve them well in a career at Citibank or AIG (or JP Morgan Chase or Bank of America or Cit …) If cheating violates other people’s sense of fairness, well, so does much of what occurs on Wall Street. Learning to ignore other people’s sense of fairness could be viewed as a useful skill in today’s job market as well.

(All this is, of course, a devil’s advocate position, and not what I actually feel.)

Chakra, do you want to spend your time developing convincing arguments to sway others or do you want to work out your own moral code with your own reasons for the choices that you make? Others may not have those values.

Why do you care?

I suppose you would want to care enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. So you can avoid anyone who thinks differently, and therefore keep your bubble of apathy immaculate.

Taken to its logical extreme though, this approach would exclude everybody. But hey, if you don’t care what they think, so what?

This has gone in the wrong direction.

Say I’m on a road trip and take a pit stop for a breather. I’m walking along a sidewalk and see a man up ahead drop his wallet without noticing. I don’t know this man, probably never will, and no one else is around.

There are certain moral codes that people adhere to, but I’m here to ask why. Why shouldn’t I just take the money out of his wallet? If I’m not caught, what do I care? In other words, why is there a right and wrong and why should I care if it’s wrong? This is what I’m asking.

Now imagine your real or hypothetical child asks you these things. As a halfway competent parent, you wouldn’t want your spawn to grow up to be a dick, would you? But what can you say beyond, “It’s not good,” or, “Because I said so.” You know what I’m trying to say? There must be some reasoning behind morality over self-interest.