Post Reply Morality of giving a ten year old child a pokemon
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Posted 3/17/13
Here is a fun one that is often found floating around the internet.

Is it moral to give a ten year old child access to pokemon. If pokemon are sentient creatures is it inherently immoral to capture them for the sole purpose of training them to fight for our amusement, does this represent slavery? How would having such creatures affect our world as we know it today. Not as laughable as it seems as we are presently working on synthetic genomics in laboratory environments around the globe with the intent of making life that suits modern purposes like power generation and waste removal. Maybe a hundred or two hundred years from now we will have electric rats as as matter of course. Curious to hear what you think on what at first seems a very shallow anime to plumb for philosophical depth!
Posted 3/17/13
To a kid, it's just a harmless little video game and TV show. I don't think it's that immoral, if they only see it as that. That's how I saw it. But when you put it like that, it's not necessarily moral, either.
I just hope no incredibly open minded child gets the idea to use his cat or something and put it up against his neighbor's angry dog. You know what? I think it's already happened.

It really is an interesting concept. The Pokemon don't seem to mind it, though.
"Yay! I ROVE my master! Can't wait to beat the hell out of this kid's Charizard!"

I don't think having creatures with abnormal powers would be safe. I think we'd all be doomed. The animal attacks would be more gruesome, and we'd all have to be secluded and quarantined completely from nature if it gets too out of hand, or worse; kill off all animal species. Because with powers like that, even a squirrel can be dangerous.
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Posted 3/17/13
Ha, thats why applying philosophy or ethics to popular culture is fun. It promotes media literacy and makes you reaxamine what you watch int he context of real world environments. This was an audiance question at my anime and philosophy panel so I wanted to see what everyone here thought of it.
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Posted 6/12/13 , edited 6/12/13
Mind Blown. Fun topic!

First, capturing pokemon to train them in combat (to eventually gather more) does imply a form of slavery – as well as, a disturbing greed pattern for power. I'm trying to really dig deep into my memories of the first-gen Pokemon series...what is coming to mind is that some of the pokemon choose their "masters." That definitely does support the idea that they are sentient beings with a free-will. For that reason, it really does get ugly to reflect on the idea of capturing them and placing them in computers until you want to you use them, while having a select handful that you actually care about and build relationships with.

Sentient weapons can be cool in a show, but in reality I think they'd be a huge mistake. It all comes down to free will. In the imaginary world, the characters have written and designed wills that come together through the writers' minds to make the world plausible and actually functional. In reality however, we all possess a free-will and that would make the concept of "pokemon" genuine chaos. For example, I could never (and still don't for that matter) understand why the captured pokemon never just ran away when they were released again. What actually bound them to their "master?" Those playful pouts and ignored-commands of pokemon that didn't like their masters would be substantially more violent; that violence would then most likely lead to more violent ways of gaining their submission. Giving that responsibility and risk to 10 year-olds would be ridiculous.

I think the show is good for letting kids vicariously feel freedom and unearthly powers that help them achieve their goals. For that specific demographic, that is the age-range in which you start realizing the weight of the world. Pokemon then not only represent unearthly powers (which sometimes seem necessary to get through the growing-up phase), but relationships as well. Looking past some of the brutal ways they make these companions, the bond between Ash and Pikachu teach about friendship and eventually further relationship building through other trainers that one meets along the way (cue Misty and Brock). In its most innocent and metaphorical form, it's not immoral to present that type of power to kids that might be experiencing their own inexperience and powerlessness in the world. Like all things though, it does teeter dangerously on the edge of being immoral in the eyes of kids that want control and seek examples beyond just an imaginatory release. We definitely don't want to teach kids that "hey, make friends and anything you've never seen before your bitches to do your dirty work." That certainly promotes intolerance, despite how in its purest form in promotes tolerance by building friendships between species. Haha...again, time to cue the real-humans’ free will. How will we each perceive the pokemon/trainer relationship?

So...hmm...I'd like to continue this, but I think I'm in need of a bit more focus. Which aspect do we really want to dig into haha? The idea of pokemon being real; the implications on young people if they were real; or the implications of the treatment of pokemon and who should or does/should not or does not have that power/choice?
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Posted 3/17/14
I think the morality of giving a kid a pokemon is better than giving a kid $500 bucks and telling them to go buy whatever they want.

Also, they don't collect 'em in a vacuum. The pokemon are more allies fulfilling the function they were born than slaves.
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Posted 8/26/14

retlawrose wrote:

I think the morality of giving a kid a pokemon is better than giving a kid $500 bucks and telling them to go buy whatever they want.

Also, they don't collect 'em in a vacuum. The pokemon are more allies fulfilling the function they were born than slaves.


Haha I'm curious, what makes you say that the morality of giving a kid a pokemon is better than giving them $500?

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Posted 9/17/14
How does the individual define morality?

How does the 'ownership' of a pokemon differ from that of a domesticated pet? Not everyone fights with pokemon, but would your nations current system of laws support the violence or condemn (see dogfighting, cockfighting, beetles etc).
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