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I remember reading up about an argument, but I can't recall or find what it was called.

It basically boiled down to this - because in either our real history or the history of a given fictional world certain atrocities were more common or were committed by the authorities in the name of the law (such as maiming, slavery, torture, racial slurs, etc.), the characters in the fiction are justified in doing these things or even seen as good people, even if to the modern sensibilities those are atrocities?

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Finally stumbled on the answer I was seeking - it's called "The Thermian Argument". It basically boils down to:

  • The writers have control over the fictional universe they create
  • Anything done in that universe can be justified by the author as belonging to that universe
  • Therefore defending those actions should not just use arguments coming from within that universe because anything can be justified this way

or a more succinct quote - "How do you kill a vampire?" "However you want, vampires aren't real".

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