• creativesoul
    11.6k
    . Are you trying to say that in some form the agreement supersedes the legal requirement for a mortgage?AmadeusD

    No, I'm pointing out that without agreement there can be no mortgage, in the very same way, by the very same means that without obligation there can be no promise. Mortgages require agreement and promises require obligation because in both cases the one consists of the other much like an apple pie requires apples.
  • hypericin
    1.5k
    Take care with "that's it" A contract to build a house usually leads to there being a house, which does not exist only in someone's mind.Banno

    But still, a contract is not a house.

    It is best not to blur the real/imaginary divide. Even though Imaginary things do exist, and have real consequences. A man imagining a tentacle monster in front of him shouts and waves his arms in the real world.

    A promise is just as imaginary as that monster.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    A promise is just as imaginary as that monster.hypericin

    And your marriage? Is it imaginary too?

    A "promissory note" – that's imaginary? Money - imaginary?

    Along with Amazon and The Conservative Party - these are imaginary, as well?

    And your property deeds - also imaginary?
  • hypericin
    1.5k
    These are social realities, which is where the line between real and imaginary does indeed seem to blur. Though imaginary at their core, by stable, shared imaginings they gain a kind of reality and object permanence.

    A promise between two people, I guess, is a minimal social reality. Notice how much weaker it is than say money, which itself can collapse in a poof once confidence is lost en masse. Whereas a promise to oneself, we will experience again after New Year's, is nothing at all.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    These are social realitieshypericin
    Now you are starting to get it.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k


    Searle's status functions??? Institutional facts???
  • Banno
    23.5k
    Yep. That's one approach, there are others.

    Social Institutions
    Collective Intentionality
  • creativesoul
    11.6k


    Yup. I've been listening to/watching Searle lectures from time to time for a while now. Trying to keep the ontology closer to ground level. Dennett helps too!

    :cool:
  • creativesoul
    11.6k


    Interesting. Thanks for that. Collective intentionality may dovetail nicely with my own position.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    Since we can build on the simple fact of our agreement. We can discourage puppy kicking, try to avoid the temptation provided by puppies, or introduce sanctions against puppy kickers. All the bits we need for a moral practice still follow, without a grounding in deontology or consequentialism, and with precious little metaethics.Banno

    Can we tease this out a bit further?

    Would you agree with my saying that we need no 'rule giver', 'enforcer', and/or judge aside from ourselves if for no other reason than strictly because we are all we have? Since that's the case, then the mantra of "practice makes perfect" is the best approach we have. If that's all we have, then it's best for us to accept the facts and begin openly discussing which sorts of behaviours are better than others and why... without appealing to external judges and rule makers aside from ourselves.

    At some point we must discuss consequences lest we have no other basis upon which to ground our belief about what and/or which behaviour is best in some set of circumstances.

    Seems a brute fact to me. There is no need for an external judge, especially one of supernatural origin. Occam's razor applies. It is almost certainly the case that we humans 'make up the rules' governing our own behaviour. We are the ones who decide what is acceptable/unacceptable.

    That's the natural progression of human thought. We act. We reflect upon actions. Then, we reflect upon those reflections, ad infinitum. In this way, morality and moral discourse emerges.

    So, we arrive at not so much as admitting that codes of conduct are subject to influence by individual particulars, but insisting upon keeping that fact in mind and building upon it.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    You haven’t answered either:

    What makes the statement true; or
    Where your confidence comes from.

    Neither of your answers are in any way adequate.
    AmadeusD

    Well, if I've not answered then what are you possibly referring to when writing "Neither of your answers are in any way adequate"???

    :brow:

    First question...

    Correspondence is an emergent relation between what is thought and/or believed about what is going on and what is going on. When what is thought about what's going on is 'equivalent' enough, or close enough to what is going on, then truth emerges. That is how meaningful true belief become real/actual/manifest/formed. That's what it takes. That's how correspondence 'between' belief about reality and reality(hence, meaningful true belief) emerges onto the world stage.

    If it is the case that we ought not kick puppies, then "we ought not kick puppies" is true.

    Are you questioning whether or not it is the case that we ought not kick puppies?
    creativesoul

    That was early on. Perhaps you missed it?

    The second question has not been asked. Those meaningful marks have not been presented to me in that order prior to now. Earlier you asked where my confidence came from when I said that if it is the case that kicking puppies is forbidden then it is also the case that we ought not kick puppies and vice versa. You queried regarding my confidence in making those claims. I answered as clearly, concisely, and completely as possible in the fewest meaningful marks possible to do so.

    I stand by that answer. I know what they both mean. They mean the exact same thing.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    Would you agree with my saying that we need no 'rule giver', 'enforcer', and/or judge aside from ourselves if for no other reason than strictly because we are all we have?creativesoul
    Given any rule, there remains the choice whether to follow it or go against it.

    Will you decide by looking to another rule? Then for that rule, will you follow it or go against it? And so on. If it is to be rules all the way, no decision can be reached. At some point you have to act. So at some point you have to choose. That includes the choice to follow a faith or an authority.

    This is the core of Existentialism. One's acts are one's own. After all the ratiocination what remains is the choice of what to do.

    So again we are at Philosophical Investigations §201.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k


    That presupposes a subject capable of complex metacognition.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k


    Sometimes there are choices other than just faith or authority There have been times when neither faith nor authority had things right.
  • Tobias
    994
    If there is no record of your company existing, it doesn't exist. Fact.AmadeusD

    I love it when people put 'fact' after their statement. "Ohh, if you put fact, well now, clearly, it must be true...."


    If you have time, could you tell us if a contract, marriage or mortgage ceases to exist if the documents on which it is written are destroyed?

    Since in many cases a contract does not even need to be written down in order to be valid, it would be odd. Wills are an obvious exception.

    Sorry to bother you with such trivialities.
    Banno

    No bother at all. Cic already commented so I do not have much to add but something interesting is going on here, so I will venture anyway.

    In the Netherlands oral agreement can lead to obligations, just as a written contract can. Under Dutch law an agreement is reached when one person makes an offer and another accepts it and unless stated otherwise by law the form of both offer and acceptance are free, meaning oral agreement suffices.

    Of course there are issues of evidence when one tries to enforce oral agreements. It may well be difficult to prove in a court of law. It is not impossible though, one may call witnesses for instance.

    Of course, this does not mean that ownership is transferred immediately, That depends on the successful delivery and some deliveries entail the registration of a deed, for instance when buying and selling real estate.

    In marriage witnesses are especially crucial because they may vow for the marriage in case one loses the necessary documentation.

    So indeed, obligations can come into existence without any material pendant of the agreement.
    The question to ask is why some people feel so uncomfortable with that

    What bizarre, magical thinking. As if, *poof!*, a newly minted promise, shiny and golden, floats down from The Land of Ought.

    The promise exists in the mind of the promiser, and their audience. That's it.
    hypericin

    Yes indeed a newly minted obligation emerges and binds me, because of the communicative connection between the parties to the agreement. This obligation exists in the sense that it can be a subject of communication (hypokemenon), it can be considered, it can be fulfilled, I can, in the worst case scenario, be incarcerated for not delivering on it and the other party, might when he has a court order to that extent, take my goods to make good on the obligation.

    Modern society is in fact based on the existence of stuff without a material counter part, take money for instance. Money in our day and age does not have material pendant necessarily.

    My feeling is that people who insist on the necessity of a material part to anything that exists, do so out of both some passed on Aristotelian intuition but also because they feel that immaterial things are somehow fleeting, they are 'less real' because they seem less durable.

    But if the records are destroyed those things do not persist. They are the record of “promise” as you put it.AmadeusD

    It is interesting to see that apparently 'persistence' is the issue. Amadeus position comes down to, 'existence means to persist and persistence happens if there are physical records of it'. So that which is not recorded does not persist and that which does not persist does not exist. This is actually our beloved bishop Berkeley making an appearance on Christmas day... ;) What it shows is that when one view is being absolutized, it generally reverts to its opposite. Here this utter materialistic view of law reverts to an idealist view.

    This isn't the case with plain promises though. AS far as i'm concerned, promises don't exist in an of themselves and confer no obligation.AmadeusD

    In a court of law you are not really of concern. "Hey I solemnly promised to kill my father in law at the Christmas table, but you see the promise does not really exist so sentencing me for threatening murder is not warranted". A judge will make short work of that defense.

    "Of course I offered to sell you the house for E200.000 and you accepted, but you see, it was only an oral promis and no obligation occurs from purely oral promises and so yeah, I sold it to my cousin instead". Well, I suggest not dealing with a Dutchman as you might well find yourself paying indemnification because of your rather outlandish views on promises and obligations.

    Disclaimer: apologies if all of this has already been dealt with in this 40+ page threat or when it derails more than enlightens. Merry Christmas all of you!:flower:
  • Tobias
    994
    It is best not to blur the real/imaginary divide. Even though Imaginary things do exist, and have real consequences. A man imagining a tentacle monster in front of him shouts and waves his arms in the real world.

    A promise is just as imaginary as that monster.
    hypericin

    Of course not. That tentacle monster is not there, he merely thought it was. The promise may well not be a figment of his imagination, but a promise he made and is now bound to keep. One is unreal the other is real, quite simple.
  • AmadeusD
    2k
    I was waiting until after Xmas to reply to several responses but this one has drawn me in.

    I love it when people put 'fact' after their statement. "Ohh, if you put fact, well now, clearly, it must be true...."Tobias

    It’s my knowledge of what constitutes a legal entity at play here.

    In a court of law you are not really of concern. "Hey I solemnly promised to kill my father in law at the Christmas table, but you see the promise does not really exist so sentencing me for threatening murder is not warranted". A judge will make short work of that defense.Tobias

    This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and anyone who thought this even constitutes a defense or a sensible thing to say regarding a charge around threatening to kill isn’t thinking, or has no clue what they’re talking about.

    Ignoring the glibness of your other responses, this one shows I may not even need to address them.

    Well, I suggest not dealing with a Dutchman as you might well find yourself paying indemnification because of your rather outlandish views on promises and obligations.Tobias

    You’ve described a constructive trust. Consists in different facts and requirements than a “promise”. “Promise” may be the problem here. Promissory estoppel for instance relates to a provable, recorded promise on which one relies. You’re discussing hearsay. “A judge would make short work of that defense”.
    If your claim relies on a mere oral promise and you have no record of it, you will be ordered to pay costs. Having credible witnesses is a record. Best to read thoroughly ;)
    Here this utter materialistic view of law reverts to an idealist view.Tobias

    You then address a view unrelated to the law, and not the view actually put forward.

    Promises don’t exist; they occur. Obligations can exist. But I do not think a promise confers any. Can’t see any argument here from either yourself or Banno that gets close to satisfactory
  • Tobias
    994
    Promises don’t exist; they occur. Obligations can exist. But I do not think a promise confers any. Can’t see any argument here from either yourself or Banno that gets close to satisfactoryAmadeusD

    How can something that does not exist occur?

    Ignoring the glibness of your other responses, this one shows I may not even need to address them.AmadeusD

    Of course you do not need to address them, only if you want to. My reply apparently drew you in, so you wanted to.

    This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and anyone who thought this even constitutes a defense or a sensible thing to say regarding a charge around threatening to kill isn’t thinking, or has no clue what they’re talking about.AmadeusD

    Indeed. It shows that utterances, whether they are recorded or not, have actual legal consequences.

    You’ve described a constructive trust.AmadeusD

    I have no idea whether I described a constructive trust or not. I am not familiar with common law legal terminology. I also do not know whether promissory estoppel "relates to a provable, recorded promise on which one relies.", but I take your word for it. Of course there might be legal facts the coming into being of which relies on them being registered. However, not all legal facts rely on them being recorded and entered into a registry of sorts. It is also wholly beside the point.

    You’re discussing hearsay. “A judge would make short work of that defense”.
    If your claim relies on a mere oral promise and you have no record of it, you will be ordered to pay costs. Having credible witnesses is a record. Best to read thoroughly ;)
    AmadeusD

    The point is this. You equivocate having evidence for a certain obligation with the obligation per se. The obligation is there, whether you have evidence for it or not. Let's say I am married, but the witnesses have died and I lost the certificate of our marriage. Of course I am still married, I just cannot prove it. My lack of proof may well lead to my claim being rejected in court, but courts are no arbiters of ontology. They adjudicate claims. If I cannot prove my claim, then it is tossed out of the window, it is as easy as that, but that does not mean my claim to being married is somehow false. That is what I mean with this:

    What it shows is that when one view is being absolutized, it generally reverts to its opposite. Here this utter materialistic view of law reverts to an idealist view.Tobias

    Your materialist view, taken to its logical consequence, leads to idealism, 'to be is to be perceived' in your case, 'to be is to be recorded'.

    Obligations can exist. But I do not think a promise confers any.AmadeusD

    Of course it does. If I would be a judge in a criminal court I might ask a witness to promise to tell the truth when she is being interrogated by me. When she in fact promises to do so, she is under oath. Her not telling the truth makes criminally liable. You merely thinking that this promise does not convey any obligation to tell the truth does not make it different. My hunch is that you are thinking of unrecorded promises. They are indeed unenforceable, because of the rules of evidence. That does not render them non existent though. The promise is there, the obligation has arisen, it simply cannot be proven. That is why I think your view comes down to a rather crude form of idealism.
  • AmadeusD
    2k
    (thanks Leontiskos - I had missed this)
    How can something that does not exist occur?Tobias

    A flight of fancy doesn't exist. Yet it occurs. Plenty of things occur without existing. Including causal relations, strictly put. Not sure you're thinking...

    It shows that utterances, whether they are recorded or not, have actual legal consequences.Tobias

    False. I went through this giving examples of both conceptually. You are just wrong. A person claiming bare that someone promised them something isn't even a legal consideration. It's a nothing. A nonsense. It isn't going to even get you listened to by the judiciary in any form, unless you have some evidence. Even that, usually, needs leave to be adduced.

    However, not all legal facts rely on them being recorded and entered into a registry of sorts. It is also wholly beside the point.Tobias

    That's true - but they must be presentable in a reliable and usually, corroborated form. You seem to think not? It is entirely on point re: whether you ahve a point.

    They adjudicate claims. If I cannot prove my claim, then it is tossed out of the window, it is as easy as thatTobias

    You could have stopped here, acknowledged you have defeated your own point, and moved on. But here we go...

    but that does not mean my claim to being married is somehow falseTobias

    If you can't prove it in court, it probably does. If there is literally no record of your marriage, you are not married. That's how a legal obligation works. If you're conflating moral obligations with legal ones, that's a bit rich.

    Your materialist view, taken to its logical consequence, leads to idealism, 'to be is to be perceived' in your case, 'to be is to be recorded'.Tobias

    This is plainly self-contradictory. Not sure what you thought would come of it. It also really has nothing to do with my views. I am telling you what is required for a legal obligation to obtain.

    That does not render them non existent though. The promise is there, the obligation has arisen, it simply cannot be proven. That is why I think your view comes down to a rather crude form of idealism.Tobias

    Why you are mentioning ontological positions is beyond me so I'm just going to ignore that dumbass conclusion.

    It literally renders them non-existent. If you have a false memory of making a promise, does it exist? No. You can't prove it. You have absolutely nothing but your memory to rely on. THe promise doesn't exist. Your apparent attachment to it does.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    That it is easier to reach agreement in physics than in ethics is not an argument for ethical statements not having a truth value.Banno

    It seems that there is almost universal agreement about the most serious ethical issues. Physics on the other hand is rife with disagreement (regarding its metaphysical implications at least) and is in any case accessible only to the very few (which doesn't stop the many from pontificating about its purported metaphysical implications).
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    It seems that there is almost universal agreement about the most serious ethical issuesJanus

    I assume you mean the almost universal agreement concerns when to assign blame and culpability?
  • Janus
    15.8k
    I assume you mean the almost universal agreement concerns when to assign blame and culpability?Joshs

    No, not addressing the question of blame. but rather of value and disvalue. Love is generally preferred over hate, courage over cowardice, selflessness over selfishness, kindness over cruelty, help over harm and so on. Murder, rape, torture, theft, deceit, exploitation and the like are universally (perhaps sociopaths excepted) condemned as being evil acts. As far as I can tell these facts about people are the only viable basis for moral realism, not some imagined transcendent "object" or whatever.
  • Joshs
    5.3k


    No, not addressing the question of blame. but rather of value and disvalue. Love is generally preferred over hate, courage over cowardice, selflessness over selfishness, kindness over cruelty, help over harm and so on. Murder, rape, torture, theft, deceit, exploitation and the like are universally (perhaps sociopaths excepted) condemned as being evil acts. As far as I can tell these facts about people are the only viable basis for moral realism, not some imagined transcendent "object" or whatever.Janus

    We can associate disvalues with people that don’t involve blame, such as ugliness, physical weakness, cognitive slowness. But are concepts like murder, hate, deceit, exploitation, cowardice, cruelty and evil at all intelligible without the implication of blame? We only blame persons for actions that they performed deliberately, with intent. Is it possible to be an accidental, unintentional murderer, coward, deceiver or hater?

    I beleive that all forms of blame, including the cool, non-emotional, rational desire for accountability and justice and well as rageful craving for vengeance, are grounded in a spectrum of affective comportments that share core features. This affective spectrum includes irritation, annoyance, hostility, disapproval, condemnation, feeling insulted, taking umbrage, resentment, anger, exasperation, impatience, hatred, fury, ire, outrage, contempt, righteous indignation, ‘adaptive' or rational anger, perceiving the other as deliberately thoughtless, rude, careless, negligent, complacent, lazy, self-indulgent, malevolent, dishonest, narcissistic, malicious, culpable, perverse, inconsiderate, intentionally oppressive, anti-social, hypocritical, repressive or unfair, disrespectful, disgraceful, greedy, evil, sinful, criminal, a miscreant. Blame is also implicated in cooly, calmly and rationally determining the other to have deliberately committed a moral transgression, a social injustice or injustice in general, or as committing a moral wrong.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    But are concepts like murder, hate, deceit, exploitation, cowardice, cruelty and evil at all intelligible without the implication of blame? We only blame persons for actions that they performed deliberately, with intent. Is it possible to be an accidental, unintentional murderer, coward, deceiver or hater?Joshs

    Of course they are intelligible without the implication of blame. We can say as Jesus reportedly did: "forgive them for they know not what they do". The idea of intent and responsibility may be inherent to those ideas, but the imputation of intent and responsibility is not indissolubly linked with the idea of deserving blame.

    This is not to say that the great majority of people do not think in terms of blame and the concomitant terms of punishment and vengeance, but perhaps the great majority have not thought deeply enough about the connection of intent and responsibility with blame.
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    Of course they are intelligible without the implication of blame. We can say as Jesus reportedly did: "forgive them for they know not what they do". The idea of intent and responsibility may be inherent to those ideas, but the imputation of intent and responsibility is not indissolubly linked with the idea of deserving blame.Blame is precisely the assignment of intent and responsibility to an action that one deems to be unethicalJanus

    Forgiveness and turning the other cheek only make sense in the context of blame, which implies a belief in the potential capriciousness of human motives. From this vantage, if, rather blaming and condemning another who wrongs me, I respond with loving forgiveness, my absolution of the other presupposes my hostility toward them. I can only forgive the other's trespass to the extent that I recognize a sign of contrition or confession on their. part. Buddhist perspectives talk of substituting compassion for anger. Others say we move beyond anger by forgiving those who wrong us. Traditional religious ideals of unconditional forgiveness, of turning the other cheek, loving one's oppressor need to be seen as conditional in various ways.

    In the absence of the other's willingness to atone, I may forgive evil when I believe that there are special or extenuating circumstances which will allow me to view the perpetrator as less culpable (the sinner knows not what they do). I can say the other was blinded or deluded, led astray. My offer of grace is then subtly hostile, both an embrace and a slap. I hold forth the carrot of my love as a lure, hoping thereby to uncloud the other's conscience so as to enable them to discover their culpability. In opening my arms, I hope the prodigal son or daughter will return chastised, suddenly aware of a need to be forgiven.

    Even when there is held little chance that the sinner will openly acknowledge their sin, I may hope that my outrage connects with a seed of regret and contrition buried deep within the other, as if my `unconditional' forgiveness is an acknowledgment of God's or the subliminal conscience of the other's apologizing in the name of the sinner. This kind of unconditional forgiveness forgives in the name of a divine or natural moral order that the guilty party is in some sense answerable to, thereby linking this thinking to the normalizing, conformist impetus of conditional forgiveness.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Perhaps we are talking at cross-purposes. Of course, as I already acknowledged, for perhaps most people intent and responsibility may be inextricably linked, by mere affect, to blame (and praise). My point was that there is no indissoluble logical or rational connection between intent, responsibility and blame.

    For example, the man-eating tiger intends to kill; do we blame her? She is certainly responsible for the killing, but do we hold her morally responsible? Of course, some people, so enraged by their loss may even seeks revenge on the tiger, but this would not be rationally driven.
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    My point was that there is no indissoluble logical or rational connection between intent, responsibility and blameJanus

    When we deem someone responsible for what we see as an unethical action, when we believe it was intentional, deliberate, this is precisely what blame is. Blame is synonymous with the attribution of intentional capriciousness, waywardness to another, their straying from the path of right behavior.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    I disagree; blame is attendant upon the idea that the person really could have done otherwise; it is based on a libertarian notion of free will which is entrenched in the western psyche. Perhaps it is inextricably linked to the libertarian notions of intent and responsibility, but those are not the only conceptions of intent and responsibility.
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    ↪Joshs I disagree; blame is attendant upon the idea that the person really could have done otherwise; it is based on a libertarian notion of free will which is entrenched in the western psycheJanus

    It doesn’t have to be a libertarian notion of free will. All one needs in order to justify the concept of blame is to believe that habits of thought can become ‘sticky’, that we can become entrenched in a way of thinking such that it becomes self-reinforcing and blinds us to other possibilities. We get angry and blame when we believe we can get that person ‘unstuck’ , make them see the error of their ways, force or cajole them into an empathy or relational intimacy they have fallen away from. When you raise your voice in anger at someone you know in order to shake them out of their complacency, are you indulging in a fantasy that they have libertarian free will, or is it because you have discovered that it often achieves its effect?

    Blame assumes the freedom of arbitrary influences and temptations , or stubborn inertia , acting upon volition. It does t need to assume the will is hermetically sealed within itself. And even when one does believe in libertarian free will , this can still be seen as the influence of outside ‘demons’ acting on the will in evil ways.

    .Blame discovers the arbitrary and capricious in a behavioral system, wherever it is to be found. If we are a biological determinist we blame heredity. If we are a behaviorist we blame the environment. If we are a Freudian we blame unconscious impulses. But regardless of what we blame, when we find ourselves getting angry with another person, we believe, however their motivational demons line up ,they can be responsible for showing contrition and mending their ways.

    The way to transcend the need for blame is not to substitute for free will a determinism in which we are conditioned by forces beyond our control. This only displaces the target of blame. Rather, it would require believing that human beings are intending sense-makers whose thinking can never be arbitrary, subject to wayward demons and influences. But it would also require that thinking can never be deliberately unethical. I know of no philosophical position that accepts both of these propositions, so in some sense all philosophy is a thinking of blame.
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