I've been trying to think of a new way of dealing with people. The "don't be a dick" model is a little vague while being fantastically simple, but says only about how we should act without saying how we should respond when conflict arises. How do we know when we should retaliate? Whether this retaliation is through words or action, at what point do we say, "No, no. I must stop you there."

I propose the Jeffersonian model of determining when retaliation is appropriate. When confronted, ask the yourself the following:
1) Does it break my bones?
2) Does it pick my pocket?

If it does either or both then retaliation is appropriate.

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What if it does not break your bones, but does break the bones of others? My fellow atheists often express anger when I suggest that self interest is not the ONLY perspective.

Luis, what should I do when someone is breaking YOUR bones? Compassion and empathy seem most illogical to you and some of my brothers here.
I am guilty of this. But, a better informed individual will find at some times that his self interest is best served when he acts in the interest of others. I still believe that acting in ones interest is the only moral motivation. However, actions that appear to be altruistic often effect a much more positive outcome for the initiator than any other action would have accomplished.
Personally, I don't know that there's a simple answer to this question. Part of the issue for me is that we don't know what kind of scale or context we're talking about; non-violent protest is probably the most effective thing to institute societal change, but a more violent response may (or possibly may not be justified if I'm being mugged in an alley. And, even if someone's not being an anti-Jeffersonian about something, just a garden-variety douchebag, I feel I have a right to make some sort of verbal response.

Also, whether we're talking about justification or appropriateness matters, too - at least to me, appropriateness not only suggests that a response is just, but also likely to reach a particular desired end.
Id agree with that but add this point.... they deserve a hearty "let me stop you there" when they are being generally annoying as well. if it encroaches on my own personal well being (i.e. my sanity) then it deserves recorse

I agree with empathy as dogly says, but, only if the afformentioned person can't fight thier own battles.

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