The correct place for moral valuation

Anytime someone causes harm to another, punishment should be doled out. What type of punishment varies depending on the circumstance. Maybe living with the guilt of running over a small child is punishment enough. Maybe the guy needs to be fed to lions.

Well, the kid is an idiot for jumping in front of a car, but the driver still will be punished, most likely from guilt more than any law.

I’ve done dumb things that should have resulted in my death. So it is no far stretch here.

I am sure the guy would still be punished, from guilt, or social ostracisation, or glares from the parents.

When you go for a drive, you accept that you may smash into another car and kill everyone. It comes with the responsibility of driving a car. You are reponsible for your actions, even if events unalterable effect your life. If i were to fire a gun, i accept responisibility that the bullet may, though unlikely, hit someone. If i aim the gun closer and closer to actual people, i know there is increased likelihood that someone will get injured. Driving in a city area, it is understood that people are around, so you accept that and be more cautious (or you are like most drivers in St. Louis, and speed up).
msmith537– nice smugness. i notice you didn’t bother to answer the OP. Now, regardless of if someone should be punished for an honest mistake, it does happen, even if not by a governing authority. As i mentioned above, people in general sontribute to the punishment via their actions (feeling guilty, accusing stares, ostracizing,…).
no longer directed only at msmith537–By living, you accept responsibility that you may be affected, hurt, or even killed by forces outside your control. By doing anything, you know that you may get hit by a meteor and die. It is called life.

I love your fire, Jodi. It has been said that I am a passionate debator, but you are at least equally so.

Morality, to me , is an intensely private journey. Discovery of our own moral code is the whole reason why we are here. It is the reason why every individual is as important as every other, no matter how weak or powerful.

Each of us will pursue a vastly different path as we act out our moral play. And none of us can experience the consciousness or the conscience of anyone else. There is nothing intrinsically morally significant about the atoms and the things they form. Moral significance arises when we make decisions about how we will deal with those things and the events that manipulate them. They are the scenery for our play.

If you and Eris do not find my definition of morality helpful, then I have no problem with that. In keeping with my own philosophy, I must grant that you may define it however you wish, and pursue your own happiness in your own way. So long as you usurp no rights of others, your moral decisions are between you and your God or conscience.

I can’t speak to anyone meaningfully about your private moral journey any more than I can speak to them meaningfully about a place I’ve never visited. I might can quote them stats and figures that I’ve read or heard, but when they visit for themselves, they will acquire their own understanding and feel for the place.

I can’t step inside you, and you can’t step inside me. Thus, our judgment of one another’s morality is moot at best and wrong at worst. I have a beam in my own eye; thus, pointing out the speck in yours would be tragically comical.

I ask only that you and Eris allow people like Jerevan and me to join the discussion and contribute our own points of view. Who knows, maybe we’ll all learn something valuable from each other.

Tars, I was really hoping for a response to the rock under the tire… [pretty please?] :slight_smile:

erislover, maybe I’ll take a quick stab at that one – the rock under the tire which is kicked up and hits/injures someone.

I don’t think we can attach any kind of morality to that. To me, that situation falls into one of those “risks” that come with living, as Tars was referring to. You get into a car and drive; there is always the risk that, no matter how attentive and careful and skillful you are, something terrible and unforeseen will happen i.e. your tires may kick up a sharp rock which hits a child and cuts her forehead (or worse). But the reverse also applies: anytime you are near – or in – the street, there is always a risk that something will happen. A car may drive by and splash mud on your new coat; the same car might kick up a rock which strikes you. It is a risk you take by being where you are, and it is hard to assign any kind of “moral responsibility” to a situation where everyone’s best intentions have been borne out by their actions.

But if we take this idea of “risk” to an extreme, and assign moral culpability for every single thing that might happen, regardless of how or when or why, then we might as well stop living our lives, because that is the only way to avoid risk.

Or to put it another way: there cannot be any morality attached to “being”.

Now, here’s a real-life issue to consider:

I received a notice from my local blood bank reminding me that it is my turn to donate. This morning I called to schedule an appointment. The scheduler looked at my record and said, “Oh, but there is a ‘scheduling block’ on your record.” She couldn’t tell me much more than that, so I called their “donor advocate” to discuss this and just got off the 'phone with her.

This is what happened: the last time I went to donate blood, they asked, as they always do, the list of questions which are meant to determine whether a donor is a likely risk for HIV, hepatitis, and so on. I am gay and have never engaged in risky sexual behavior, but at the time I wasn’t comfortable answering the questions, in part because of how they were worded e.g. “Have you had sex with another man, even once, since 1970?” I understand what they are getting at, but at the same time I found the question offensive. Gay men are not the only ones at risk for HIV, but women and straight men are not asked this question. “Sex” is not really defined; and different people have different ideas about what constitutes “sex”. Certain sexual behaviors are considered far riskier than others. I found the question(s) both discriminatory and out-dated. I knew that I was not at risk for any diseases, so I answered “no” to all of the relevant questions and proceeded to donate. However, in the last step I did affix the barcode label to the space instructing the blood bank “Do not use” my blood, because in the end I decided that I had to deal honestly with the blood bank and respect their intentions, even if I did not quite agree with how they went about it. At the time I decided that it was not right to be dishonest (within the context given) in order to donate blood, regardless of the good it could do. In their estimation I had self-identified as a potential risk, and this resulted in my “scheduling block”.

I did not realize that’s what would happen, and I now regret that I did this because I would very much like to donate blood to the blood bank instead of paying money to fulfill my membership obligation. The advocate was very understanding and we had a good talk just now – she even told me that tests on my last donated pint were all negative – but until the FDA rules change her hands are tied.

So here’s the issue I put before you: suppose I had chosen differently last time. Suppose I did answer “no” to all the questions, and then allowed them to use my blood instead of labelling it “do not use”. I knew that I was not at risk; I judged that the questions they were asking (to ensure a safe blood supply) did not apply to me. I was deliberately dishonest in order to donate my blood, because it is needed and might save someone’s life.

What moral judgement do you make about this? Does morality even apply, or is it an ethical question?

Well, I take a freudian look at ethics/morality (that is, you will see parallels to Freud’s little trinity, not that Frued and I feel the same way about this). Morality is what motivates our behavior as a start, and ethics are how we choose to interact with the rest of society. Ethics might just be a mask we put over our own morality, or they might merely add to it. Anyway, my own personal convention, YMMV, etc (just so when I use those words in response to you we are clear here).

So with respect to the blood donation, as a moral agent I don’t think you were out of line to donate the blood; after all, their safeguards are in place to prevent receiving contaminated blood, and you know your blood wasn’t contaminated. Ethically, however, you would be more or less bound to respect their wishes, so it would be a bad move to lie to them in that case. IMO, though, morality should override ethics most of the time, though I would never blame anyone for doing the opposite.

As far as the rock goes, this is just my point. If the man driving assumes the possibility of injuring someone else when driving, why doesn’t the pedestrian assume a risk of injury when near a road? Why can we not say that the pedestrian was at fault and not the man? It seems that the justification for holding the man morally responsible could be turned around on the child (or the agent responsible for the child: its parent(s)) just as easily.

And the rock I find interesting because it seems to remove the action by a step, though in both cases (with or without the rock) the man had the same amount of control over the vehicle (looked away fro the road for just a moment and hit a child, or looked away from the road for just a moment and hit a rock which hit a child).

The rock is particularly interesting because I recently had the displeasure of hearing the following tale when I was visiting a customer’s site in Jew Jersey. Seems that a woman and her friend were waiting at a bus stop next to the road. You know, the kind that just have a sign, no little shelter thing was there. And, well, a truck (semi) came by, and right when it was passing these two one of its tires went. The rubber-steel “shrapnel” made mincemeat of one woman, killing her—if not on the spot—before she could make it to the hospital.

Can we also say that we can hold the truck driver responsible as a moral agent? Is that not a risk he assumes when driving? Can we not hold the woman responsible as a moral agent (for her own demise)? Is that not a risk she assumes when standing by the side of the road?

I have a hard time dealing with situations like this where normal behavior without intention leads to injury or death. I personally feel that no one person can be held responsible; that tragedies like this should be covered by society itself. A moral burden based on accidents spread out across all of society isn’t really a moral burden at all.

So, no, I don’t think the man had any obligation to do anything, in closing (for this post).

A return to Jodi

First, hierarchy. I am using it in the sense of the fifth definition, “A graded or ranked series.”

Ok, secondly: “IMO, as a moral matter, it is worse to try to kill someone (no consequences) that it is to suceed in hitting them. (Because IMO it is morally “worse” to kill than to hit.)” Well, no problem with this statement (though I wonder if I agree with it or not), but the issue on the floor is that we have an action devoid of content yet to which most people would still assign a moral value to; i.e.— the man is responsible for the action, and he did a bad thing. This is where I got the reply in the form of likelihood, which to me immediately implies probability and statistics (probability in the abstract sense, statistics after accident data has been revealed to an agent in question; i.e.—you have, according to national averages, a .02% chance of accidentally killing a person today, and by stepping into this car you are accepting those odds and admitting that you are morally responsible for any deaths that are caused by this vehicle [and of course I just made that percentage up]). I am wondering about pragmatism because we are not obviously (that is, it isn’t obvious that we are, if we are, which I don’t know yet) punishing a man (or holding him morally responsible) for intent. In your “better to swing and hit than murder and miss” view, intent is a foregone conclusion so matching the behavior up on a “moral chart” is trivial. That ain’t the issue here, though. Can we punish a man for something he didn’t intend to do? If we feel the correct place for determining morality is on intent, then this man has no moral obligation to anyone he harms on accident, right?

“I am sure the guy would still be punished, from guilt, or social ostracisation, or glares from the parents.” I don’t doubt it. But do you feel he is morally responsible or actually bad? (that is, is he bad, has he created a moral obligation, or both, or neither?)

“When you go for a drive, you accept that you may smash into another car and kill everyone. It comes with the responsibility of driving a car.” Doesn’t the possibility of death come with walking out onto a street, or being by one? Why can’t the pedestrian be responsible for his own death?

Also, see the reply to Jodi.

Lib, I’ll have to sit on your response a little more…

A correction, Jodi, though you probably could infer what I meant to type anyway. Second paragraph to you, first sentence in response (not your quote):
“Well, no problem with this statement (though I wonder if I agree with it or not), but the issue on the floor is that we have an action devoid of intent yet to which…”


Agreed, my conclusion as well. But since my situation involves the concepts of intent, safety, deliberate action, assumed risks, etc. I thought I’d toss it into the ring and see what others made of it.

Just in case it wasn’t clear from my previous post, I am with you on this point. The man isn’t automatically at fault just because he was driving the car. And depending on what actually happened, it might be that neither he nor the pedestrian are guilty of “wrong-doing” in a moral sense (deliberate intent to do harm through action or negligence) or an ethical sense (ignoring or circumventing accepted/defined modes of proper conduct). (The parentheses paraphrase my understanding of your definitions of those two concepts, based on your last posting.)

Which seems more or less equivalent to my statement about “situation[s] where everyone’s best intentions have been borne out by their actions.” – that is, when we’ve done what any reasonable, sensible, thoughtful person could be expected to do, and misfortune strikes anyway. Unfortunately we live in a society which prefers to attach personal blame and responsibility where one is hard-pressed to say that any exists.

Well, hey, let me welcome you to the boards, and especially to Great Debates, in case no one has (and if anyone has then one more won’t hurt anyway). Nice to have fresh mea…er, new ideas! :wink:

Ah, but this is why some may adopt a consequentialist view… though intent may be interesting, the point is that the man did run over the child. It is easy to initially dismiss looking at consequences and weighing results, but look at the stray consequence-based reasoning that we can find here and there in the thread:

Hard not to see that morality is, at least in this context, equated with consequences in these comments…

Er, thanks. Yours is actually the third welcome I have received, but no, it didn’t hurt. I shall endeavor not to… disappoint. :wink:

…though I’m not advocating that’s what should be done. I was just suggesting that when one looks at situations (intentions, actions and results), it is useful to keep in mind that one might not find it easy to assign responsibility in the sense we are discussing; one might find that it cannot be assigned at all.

Agreed, and this tendency is quite understandable. Assigning ultimate responsibility (or blame) to a human agent for every misfortune which occurs creates an illusion of control and keeps the scarier aspects of the Universe at bay: “If this man – or the parents, or the child, or society – is responsible for what happened, then I don’t have to ‘deal’ with the fact that the same sort of seemingly random, agent-less thing could happen to me as well.”

I say “seemingly random, agent-less thing” because there are some people who believe that everything in the Universe has a purpose and happens for a reason. In some ways I am one of them. Still, that’s not always a comforting perspective.


:: Sigh :: My taking exception with your definition of morality has nothing to do with commenting on your “private journey” or “moral decisions.” Nor is it in any way an attempt to exclude you from the discussion. Rather, it is a pointing out of the fact – not argument, but fact – that if we want to discuss what a term means, what its parameters are, and how it applies, we must agree on a definition. Otherwise we aren’t talking about the same thing, right? In this thread, we have not been defining “morality” as being “something between man and God,” and therefore almost definitionally beyond the purvue of other men (or women). I do not say this isn’t a fine definition, but it is NOT how we’ve been using the term here. This is not a judgment on whether the defintion is “helpful,” though I would say it is not particularly helpful in the context of this thread, because it changes a conversation about “morals” into one about “ethics,” if we use your definitions of those terms.

This is, of course, using your definition of morality as something between individuals and God or conscience, and no one else. Again, with respect, this is not the “morality” we have been discussing here.


As a general rule, I disagree, so maybe I’m not “most people.” I do perceive a continuum of the likelihood of a bad outcome leading to a point where a person can no longer defend him or herself by simply claiming “I didn’t mean to” – well, you knew the overwhelming likelihood was that this would result, but you did it anyway, didn’t you? So the question becomes when an action devoid of intent can be considered immoral. IMO, that point is when a disregard for probable results becomes itself almost a willful act – when you have been so grossly unreasonable in failing to consider the results of your actions that it amounts to an intentional act – even if that intentional act was only to fail to think through what you’re doing. But that is at the far end of a continuum that IMO for the most part does not implicate morality. Unintentional acts IMO are generally (and IMO almost definitionally) not immoral.

Well, I don’t equate moral culpability with punishment, as if you can’t have one without the other. We punish illegal acts – things that we have decided on a societal level are unacceptable. That does not mean that an individual (even the perpetrator) might not judge those same actions to be entirely moral (like refusing to pay taxes on principle) or at least not immoral (like, say, stealing soap from a hotel). And I’m not sure what you mean by “moral obligation.” It seems to me that whether someone “owes” something to someone else as an “obligation” is a different question than whether a given act is or is not immoral. To add the idea of a “moral obligation” to the mix implies that transgressing a given moral tenet automatically gives right to a consequent moral duty to rectify the situation if possible. I don’t necessarily disagree with this, but it would only point out it is itself a moral tenet.

But under no circumstances do I believe it is approrpiate to judge the morality of an attempted action soley (or even initially) by reference to the consequences – so that if you did not succeed, you did nothing wrong. To me, to say “it is wrong to do X” necessarily implies by logical extension that “it is wrong to try to do X.” (Because to truly attempt one must desire to succeed.) Under this analysis, the consequences (the success) is largely irrelevant as a moral matter. They may be entirely relevant as a practical or legal matter, however.

Jodi, a moral obligation would be to say, help out a person why is lying bleeding in a ditch, offering some change to a homeless person, and so forth. Or, in our case, helping a person you accidentally ran over, even if you can’t be held morally responsible for.

So the question, I guess, remains: the man is morally guilty of nothing, so why is he morally responsible for anything?

Well, Jodi, you once again have left me confused. On the one hand, you do not intend to exclude me from the discussion, but on the other, someone called “we” is deciding what to talk about. Maybe it’s best after all if I sit this one out.

Jodi, you’re right: we have to define our terms, individually if not collectively, in order to proceed. But I think the OP as presented does necessitate a discussion about what morality is as much as how and where to attribute it.

I’ve tried to be clear, by context if not direct definition, on what I think morality is, but I haven’t assumed that you or anyone else shares my exact view. In fact, from our posts it seems that we all have differing ideas of exactly what constitutes “morality” is. That’s pretty interesting in itself, don’t you think?

I’ll try, i have a headache now, so i hope i don’t leave out something important.
Okay, faults due to Driver A running over Rock B and the rock flinging into a yard and killing Child C. Child C must accept that with living comes the possibility of death, so he gets a little blame (but really not enough to be quantatativly measured.) The driver should have noticed the rock (though he has less blame with less rock size, since it would be harder to see). Driver A should still accept that he may hurt people inadvertantly, and would probably have to live with stigma of having killed someone, even if it was accidental. The City or Owner of the road would also bear responsibility, the brunt of it in fact. Their responsibility is to clean the road (this assumes it is a paved road, gravel below). Also, the dude who put the rock there needs blame, whether by accident (some) or purposeful (more, but i doubt he meant the rock to nail a little kid, more likely he was “stupid rock in my truck! Go Away!”). Still, he has some blame too.

If the road was gravel, the Child’s family knew that moving into the neighborhood, so they knew what might happen and are not innocent. The city is only to blame if it failed to regulary maintain the gravel road (i do not know how you maintain gravel roads, so i’ll flutter around this). The city can also be at fault for not paving the road, I doubt that would be much blame. The driver knows that he is on a gravel road, so he should be more careful (don’t speed, yada yada), and the fact the road is gravel cannot be helped by him. Still, he chose to drive on the road, so he isn’t innocent, either.

Is this making sense? i can try to amplify parts when i am feeling better. Or i can debate the cause of my headache!! (my fault for not having enough caffeine, Pepsi’s fault for being so good and getting me hooked…)


Maybe it is. I’m not sure what your problem is here. You post a definition of morality that is not consistent with the one we – and by we I mean the others of us participating in the debate before you – had been using. You apparently take exception at (a) my pointing out that we (the rest of us) haven’t been using your definition and (b) my refusing to adopt your definition myself, especially in the context of a conversation already under way. Then you construe both (a) and (b) as “someone called ‘we’ deciding what to talk about” – as if “we” don’t always decide what “we” talk about. I sense that you perceive my refusal to adopt your definitions as some sort of attack on those definitions – though I have repeatedly said I don’t object to them at all. I don’t know why you would think that, but whatever.

Yes, I understand the concept of a moral obligation, but I don’t understand what you’re saying regarding it. Are you saying that having caused harm (even unintentionally) itself gives rise to an obligation to rectify the harm if you can? Because if so, that is itself a separate moral obligation, right?

If there is no separate moral obligation to cure the harm you cause, then he isn’t morally responsible for anything. If we agree there is a moral obligation to fix the harm you cause (if you can), then he is morally obliged to do so. But this again does not turn on intent, but on whether you would impose that obligation as a separate moral matter, largely unrelated to the morality of the first harm-causing action. IMO.


I absolutely agree. And I have not insisted that LIB or anyone else use my definition, nor have I attempted to foreclose discussion of what morality is and where it comes from. In fact, as Christians, LIB and I probably largely agree on those issues. I have simply declined to use a God-based definition of morality in this discussion when that wasn’t the way I was defining the term in my posts to date – and, in fact, when defining it that way changes the meaning of my posts entirely.

I do. And I have not attempted to impose my definition of morality on anyone; I have only declined to begin using someone else’s.

But isn’t that the crux of it?—Did he cause it? If he caused it, then why can’t we say that he is morally culpable? This is what troubles me here. I mean, do you understand what I’m saying and just disagree, or are you not understanding what I’m saying and trying to get through it? (darned polite conversation, so hard to tell sometimes! :p)

Tars, thanks. What bothers me is that responsibility is assigned based on three assumptions: all parties involved understand the risks, the risks are assessable, and moral responsibility flows as a direct consequence of action not intent. The first two assumptions I can live with; at some level we must make some assumptions in order to live, debate, or make the conversation focused, and those seem reasonable enough. But the third is my sticking point. It is as if consequence initiates moral judgement, while intent merely “makes it worse.”

But you wouldn’t agree with that assessment, would you?

Since anyone can get into accidents, why should luck assign moral responsibility? Could we not say that everyone was guilty of accidents? In a society where all things are subtly influenced by all people (sure, the road-owner bears responsibility, but not the tax-payers who subsidized the project?), anything deemed negative or “bad” without intent (in order to assign responsibility/blame) is therefore the fault of everyone. Isn’t that an assumed risk of living?


Because we (I) have defined morality largely in terms of the intent to do a given act. So if there is no intent to do the wrong, the act is (probably) not immoral (as a general proposition). So we can’t say he is morally culpable simply because he caused it, because we (I) have defined “moral culpability” as requiring something more than mere causation – requiring intent, in fact.

A different matter is whether you would assign a moral responsibility to fix the damage you cause regardless of whether the damage was intentionally done or not, under a theory that we all have a moral obligation to fix what we break and undo the bad we do, if we can. But that is a separate moral obligation arising from the doing of the bad thing (intentionally or not); it does not serve to reach back and make a truly accidental “bad thing” morally wrong. Do you see what I’m saying?

So if you are saying that an after-the-fact imposed duty to fix our mistakes or bad acts somehow makes those mistakes/bad acts in all cases immoral, then I disagree with that.

I would say, rather, that it is the fault of no one. I don’t think it’s fair to assign fault for actions that independently, without the cumulative contribution of other actions, would not produce the bad result. Under those circumstances, I would not say that everyone is to blame but rather no one is – it is merely a confluence of circumstances that came together to produce a truly accidental event.

Jodi, I think I understand what you’re saying: a distinction may be made between judging the harm which occurs (and why, and with what intent, etc.) and judging what one ought to do to redress it. You, Jodi, make the separation because in your view the very concept of “redress” for wrong-doing – under what circumstances it ought to be made, and how, and by whom – can itself be construed as a moral or ethical construct. And I agree.

Whereas to say, “any obligation to offer redress for harm implies moral responsibility” is a kind of regressive assimilation: it suggests that when a person seeks to ameliorate a misfortune which was “accidental”, then that person assumes responsibility for causing the event. Which I think, we can agree, is ludicrous.

I share eris’s discomfort with this (third) assumption. I think moral responsibility has to include some balance of action and intent. However, I would go a step further than Jodi to interpret “negligence” as a form of intention.

I see what you are saying, Jodi, and I am glad we are (continuing to find usefulness in) making this distinction. Could we say, then, that moral responsibility comes from an unintentional immoral act?-- that is, one which, if it were intended, would be immoral? The problem I have with the whole “badness we caused” idea is where along the causal chain are we obligated to stop? Why is it so clear that we hold screen-makers responsible for a child falling to its death (and yes, this is a legal case, but I am not picturing it from a legal view) and not the parent?

Consider the McDonald’s coffee case that received so much publicity, when the “talk on the streets” was often that McD’s wasn’t really to blame. Didn’t the lady cause the coffee to spill in the same manner that the driver in our hypothetical caused the child to die? Assumed individual risks seem to be a moral quicksand… opaque, probably stinky, and tough to get out of. :wink:

But isn’t this every single action we undertake every moment of our lives? Why is it absurd to hold my boss responsible for my accident… I mean, I would be driving this way if it wasn’t for him/him/her (I have three bosses!)? Why is it not absurd to hold me responsible and have my insurance rates go up? I understand that I am inflating the scope of the conversation here, but that is a necessary consequence of trying to examine who could conceivably be held responsible for accidents involving my person that I didn’t intend.

I didn’t have to work for this boss, and he didn’t have to hire me. I didn’t have to leave at the time I did that morning, but that’s the fault of my alarm clock manufacturer who put the snooze button so close to the off switch… etc, etc, etc… When assigning a moral responsibility to cover fault we turn toward causality. But my problem is that the causal chain is not one link long, it stretches as far as the eye can see in all directions and skewed diagonals. You can’t get out of its way or cut it at any point, you know?

And we are all wrapped up in it. It seems that if we accept morality (or the negative valuation of immorality) to be weighed on intent, and accidents themselves have no intent, then in order to determine the moral weight of the situation following an unintended consequence we need to look for more intent… that is, I am trying to bring the examination of moral judgements under one contextual blanket. To do that, I examine that each of us intend to live our lives, accepting the fact that sometimes shit can happen. If we accept that, and live anyway, could that not conceivably give us all the responsibility to amend accidents instead of stopping at seemingly arbitrary places along a causal chain?


Exactly. An argument may be made that if I run over your dog, I have an obligation to rectify that situation if I can – even if it was truly an accident and I feel terrible about it.

Well, I tend to think of “negligence” in terms of law, not morality. As a general proposition, I don’t think negligence is a species of intent – in fact, actions that are negligent are almost definitionally not intentional. (If I smack you across the face on purpose, then I haven’t done it negligently.) There is, however, a point on the continuum we discussed above where actions become so reckless – where the disregard of the likely consequences is itself willful (intentional) – that gross negligence approaches intent. But generally I think negligence connotates the absence of particularized intent, and indeed it is that absence of particularized intent which allows me to posit that negligent bad acts need not be immoral.