• schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    For sure it would not be moral of me to neglect my children so that they suffer terribly but that then causes them to be self-sufficient and highly successful. The end would not justify the means. But I do think there is merit to not spoiling the child, to making them endure their struggles. There is real difference between adults who had upbringings where they were provided their every need and those that earned their way.Hanover

    Ok, but I am not arguing that one shouldn't provide ways to overcome obstacles or prepare children so.. Again at this point, child-rearing is remediation from the damage not prevented.

    It's the person who has learned his lessons through experience that is most steadfast, and I'd argue most virtuous. The person who never faltered and never considered veering the course is a special breed, but his behavior might be best explained as obedient and compliant, doing as he does because he never contemplated otherwise. But the guy who refuses to be diverted from the virtuous path because he knows too well where it leads, whose behaviors are the result of a life not perfectly lived, is the person who has a more heroic way about him.Hanover

    Ok, not refuting this either. What I am refuting is the notion that if YOU have a positive ethic (people should do this), then that should not override other people's negative ethic (they have a right to not be interfered with unjustly). I have and am currently acknowledging things like "child-rearing" and certain "governmental actions" as different (remediation), than cases where it was unnecessary to begin with (you could have prevented it). And of course much of the dialogue will center around "unnecessary" and "prevent".

    I don't PURPOSEFULLY put you in a situation SO THAT YOU CAN OVERCOME IT, if I don't get consent, etc.. So for example, if I wanted to force someone to join my project, simply because I liked it, that is not my right to force someone to join my project. If I couldn't ask, I shouldn't do this. If the project required unknown amounts of suffering, but certainly known that suffering will incur, that would be wrong that I forced someone into that project. Things like this.

    Similarly, let's say you want to X society (project) to incur. In order to do this, you need to populate this society. This requires you create people (negative ethic of non-autonomy), and that these people will be harmed (negative ethic of non-harm). You cannot just create the people because you want to see X society, and you need a population to join this society. Once born, sure, if it requires that people need to be instilled with X, Y, Z values when young in order to survive, that is only because of a remediation was necessary (you needed to trade a greater harm for a lesser harm), and they are in your care.
  • Moliere
    4.3k
    As I've tried to make clear, when I talk about "personal morality" I'm talking about how I, myself, come to what might be called "moral" decisions. I wasn't saying I expected, or even wanted, others to do the same. That being said, I've never come across a moral principle I found convincing or satisfying except, perhaps, the golden rule.T Clark

    What part of the golden rule is dissatisfying, do you think?

    Asking since you said "perhaps"

    For myself I at least like a commitment to honesty with self and others'. But it's merely a preference.
     
    When everything is working correctly, so-called "moral" decisions present themselves to me as emotions, intuitions, understandings, insights, or intentions, not usually as rational arguments. Sometimes they skip those steps completely and go directly to actions. As I mentioned, that's what Taoists call "wu wei," acting without acting. Perhaps that's a bit misleading. In the world Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu came from, that's where all action, whether or not we call it moral, arises.T Clark

    When is everything working correctly?

    I'm not opposed, it's just sometimes these states seem a little mythical to myself: they're idealizations which sound pleasant, but I can say I like the articulations and deliberations because I'm not always acting without acting -- sometimes I'm wondering "Hrm, so what now?"
  • Joshs
    5.4k


    What part of the golden rule is dissatisfying, do you think?

    Asking since you said "perhaps"

    For myself I at least like a commitment to honesty with self and others'. But it's merely a preference.
    Moliere

    Nobody asked me, but I hate the Golden Rule. It perpetuates the very violences it is designed to pre-empt, by assuming that morality is a matter of motivation and intent rather than understanding.
  • Moliere
    4.3k
    Nobody asked me, but I hate the Golden RuleJoshs

    :D

    No worries -- I'm interested in hearing a proper go at refutations of the golden rule.

    It perpetuates the very violences it is designed to pre-empt, by assuming that morality is a matter of motivation and intent rather than understanding.Joshs

    I'm interested. Is there more?
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    But that is a very uncharitable understanding, don't you think?schopenhauer1

    I don't, and I think it's simply true.

    It's not that we have 'no negative right not to be criticized'. That's not necessarily part of the negative ethics. That is simply interaction. Rather, if I said to you, "Please leave me alone", and you stood there yelling in my face, chasing me down, harassing me, then that might qualify for a negative right not to be harassed. But simply criticizing someone doesn't meet that threshold.schopenhauer1

    Okay, then we agree on this.

    What qualifies as "right not to be... (fill in the blank)" can be up for interpretation. The point is, whatever negative ethic there is, you cannot use your understanding of what is a positive "right" to violate it. WHAT COUNTS as a negative ethic, is up for interpretation though.schopenhauer1

    I am among those who hold that a good end does not justify an evil means, but my point is that what counts as a negative ethic (right) is enormously important. That is where the crux of the question lies.
  • Moliere
    4.3k
    What I'm thinking, roughly, Against the Golden Rule:

    "Do unto others' as you would have them do unto you" is the version I'm thinking from.

    One thing, all by itself, is that it doesn't really say much.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    Nobody asked me, but I hate the Golden Rule.Joshs

    No worries -- I'm interested in hearing a proper go at refutations of the golden rule.Moliere

    The Golden Rule might deserve a thread of its own.
  • Moliere
    4.3k
    That's a good point.
  • Joshs
    5.4k
    I'm interested. Is there more?Moliere

    Oh yeah. The golden rule, like the 10 commandments, pre-supposes what it should be putting into question, that we harm , disrespect and oppress each other because we desire such outcomes, that is, that we find satisfaction in instigating or allowing them to happen. So we have to be reminded ‘ don’t do that, it’s not nice, even if it feels nice’. My critique is connected with what I wrote you in a previous post about the psyche being a community of selves, such that the idea of being self vs other-directed doesn’t make much sense. We don’t have to be told to be other-directed or empathetic. Our skin doesn't define the boundary of our intrinsic self. The boundary of the self that we care about , and whose enrichment motivates our actions, isn’t physical or spatial , but functional. That is, we naturally embrace into the self all of the world that can be assimilated on enough dimensions of similarity. If we didn’t have this filter, our world would be an indecipherable chaos, as would our ‘self’.

    The golden rule, rather than appreciating our need to make our world recognizable before we can assimilate it ( and this applies especially to the values and thoughts of others unlike us), blames ‘bad intent’, as though we already understand others and still desire to disrespect them (because we’re ‘evil’ or ‘pathological’ or ‘selfish’.) So it perpetuates violence by generating its own violence through anger and blame. Those miscreants who ignore the golden rule deserve to be punished, or at least ostracized and condemned. Can you imagine a world where most people believed that? It would look exactly the same as the world we live in now, where everyone believes in the golden rule and everyone points fingers at each other, throws stones at each other, shuns each other.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    Seems to me that the default is "requires consent" and so we have to justify why it is we are ignoring consent in some circumstance.Moliere

    In adult surgeries, sure, but apart from that not really. There are lots of things that require consent and lots of things that don't. For example, I honk my horn at someone on the road without getting their consent.

    No one when it comes to hard in fast rules. I clarified the kinds of persons I'd point to in a circumstance parenthetically, but I value autonomy in that process of selecting who the professional is.Moliere

    But then you aren't talking about ceding professionals coercive tools at all, which is what we were discussing.

    "Against their will" would have to incur a pretty strong justification for me, given my respect for autonomy. But serial killing is pretty extreme. We've been dealing in some extreme examples where the question is when to use coercion.Moliere

    Okay, but you still require a principle which explains why things change in the extreme case. Many of us have brought up the extreme case precisely because it disproves the OP. The extreme case disproves the claim that one can never transgress another's will.

    I'm admitting in this question that I don't see the appeal of punishment, yes.

    What's the appeal?
    Moliere

    What do you think punishment is? That's where I would say we need to start if you think it makes sense to talk about consensual punishment.

    Hrrmm, I think it's just a disagreement about what is entailed by socialization -- is it a process of moral admonition, or a process of learning to think for yourself, or a process of collective deliberation, or a processMoliere

    As far as I can see each one of those processes requires the sort of admonition and criticism that is being opposed in this thread, which leads me back to the original point that socialization involves moral admonition, criticism, etc.

    I don't see legislators or policemen as moral tools.Moliere

    What I said is that the professionals who wield moral tools are more likely legislators and policemen than doctors.

    But hierarchy and coercion are generally things I don't think of as ethical, but rather expedient: they are political, not moral tools. They are useful to this or that end, but that doesn't mean they're good, per se.Moliere

    The question is whether they are bad per se; whether they are ethically permissible. To say that they are expedient doesn't answer that question.

    The serial killer might be acting rightly to his intrinsic nature. But that's also a pretty extreme case for thinking ethically -- it's not on my radar as a thing I have to consider very often. I tend to believe that ethical thinking occurs between persons who respect one another, at least, so these are just difficult circumstances rather than cases against some approach.Moliere

    The idea that morality has to do with acting according to one's intrinsic nature is diametrically opposed to the idea that "ethical thinking occurs between persons who respect one another." This is what the serial killer example shows.

    Philosophically I don't think there is such a thing, really, as an intrinsic nature. For myself I'm coming at it more from the existential side. The "intrinsic nature" is created along the way, and changed with circumstances.Moliere

    Okay.

    ...I'm somewhat overloaded so I will probably need to start drawing myself out of some of these conversations. I suppose the main idea here is that extreme individualism which prizes autonomy and consent ends up being opposed to social living. The members of a society necessarily bump into one another and in doing so change one another's trajectory. A position which rejects this fact of life is simply unrealistic. It doesn't matter whether that position is premised on morality, or autonomy, or consent, or "Taoism," etc. A morality is an idea about how that bumping ought to operate. Ideas which claim that the bumping should not exist are unrealistic and pointless, and in fact they are not moralities. Like antinatalism, such an idea is more a metaphysical critique of reality than a morality.

    (NB: The "bumping" necessarily involves the non-consensual ways that we effect one another. An example of an unrealistic idea would be one which tries to make every bump consensual. In reality even defining a 'bump' is probably impossible given the complexity of human and social agency.)
  • Hanover
    12.3k
    Still, when the potential rapist comes to you asking for advice, tell him that a man who commits rape has no love for himself.frank

    Do you think that though? I don't think slave holders in the 1700s or even Nazis had no love for themselves. I just think they had no empathy, which was rooted in their belief that their victims were not fully human. I don't know they could have been convinced otherwise, and I'm not convinced something was broken within them. They were persuaded by the societies that created them. I'm not suggesting they were therefore morally excused, but I don't think you can just write them off as being self-hating or broken.

    I suppose it was society that was broken, but I'm pretty sure that's still the case. The part I like about all these philosophical discussions is that they ultimately don't matter. You can just go back to whatever and not have to worry about the implications.
  • frank
    14.9k

    See, this is why you make the big bucks, because you can express a shrug in two paragraphs.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    When she practices for her lesson, is she doing her best?Joshs

    On my account the answer to that question is contingent, and rides on how she has actually practiced. Hence my point about contingent vs. necessary truths.

    You could just poll piano teachers or school teachers. 100% of them will tell you that it is false that each child is doing their best at each moment.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t you argue that ‘not doing one’s best’ generally requires that the person who is the target of such an accusation be aware of the fact that they are not doing their best, that they deliberately desired and chose to underperform relative to what they knew they were capable of?Joshs

    No. That someone has not done their best only means that they have not done their best, not that they must have known it. Note too that an assessment that someone is not doing their best need not be an accusation. The person in question need not even be told. If you stop using words like "accusation" you will draw some of the emotion out of this debate, and we might actually come to a considered answer.

    Bringing this back to little Susie, dont we need to surmise that she simply didn’t feel like putting all her effort into practicing?Joshs

    Someone who is not doing their best is by definition not putting all of their effort into something. The reason we seldom do our best is because it is very difficult to put all of our effort into something.

    It wouldn’t be a question of aiming a radar gun at her speed of playing, since this wouldn’t tell us anything about her performance relative to her potential unless we compared the results over time and discovered that she was moving in the wrong direction.Joshs

    Here is what I have already said to that:

    By my knowledge of their capacity as a cause. Ergo: I am best situated to praise or blame myself given my uniquely informed knowledge about myself, and I blame myself precisely when I fail in relation to my capacity and my ability.Leontiskos

    As you can see, I’ve moved the terrain of the issue of ‘doing one’s best’ away from that of a variability in performance given an unchanging ground of positive motivation (intrinsic reinforcement) to push the limits of one’s ability and understanding, and toward connecting variation in performance directly to shifts in intent and motivation. Now things become complicated. Let’s say the teacher calls Susie lazy. What does laziness mean? Does it mean that Susie has decided not to push her creative potential to its limit, and that my claim that such a directedness toward expansive knowing is not intrinsically motivating? Or does it mean that Susie continues to actively expand her curiosity and inventiveness, but not in the direction her teacher wants her to direct it? There are all kinds of reasons we hold back in performance situations. We may be entering a crisis of commitment, where we discover that our time is better spent elsewhere. Perhaps our daydreaming which gets in the way of a current task lead us to our true calling. The question , then, is whether laziness reflects a failure on the part of the accused or a failure on the part of the accuser to recognize that the lazy person is in fact doing their best, but not in a way that conforms to the accuser’s expectations. Perhaps your perception that the other is not doing their best indicates an inability to see past the normative expectations through which you judge their motives. You see what they’re not doing, but not what they are doing.Joshs

    You're making this a great deal more difficult than it is. Susie has had 100 piano lessons with Mrs. Scott. Has Susie tried her absolute best at each and every piano lesson? Of course not, and Mrs. Scott will attest to this. We can give explanations of why Susie did not do her best, and we could even use a great deal of mental gymnastics to claim that every single aspect of Susie's playing which seems to indicate she is not doing her best is merely a matter of circumstances outside of her control. But why fool ourselves in such a way? We all know that we and others do not constantly put 100% of our effort into things. I think this is beyond obvious.

    The idea that there are no lazy pupils is simply false. There may be bad teachers, and some teachers may falsely claim that their pupil is lazy, but it remains the case that there are also lazy pupils. It should also be noted that our actions compound, and because of this our responsibility extends into the future. We are not only responsible for our acts; we are also responsible for our habits. When we perform a bad act it may have more to do with a habit than with our current level of effort, but it remains an open question whether we are responsible for the bad habit that produced the bad act.

    The central question still looms: is your position a priori or a posteriori? Is the proposition you assert necessary or contingent?
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    I don't, and I think it's simply true.Leontiskos

    Of course
    Okay, then we agree on this.Leontiskos

    :up:

    I am among those who hold that a good end does not justify an evil means, but my point is that what counts as a negative ethic (right) is enormously important. That is where the crux of the question lies.Leontiskos

    Here is an extreme microcosm of what I mean about YOUR projects versus MY rights...

    Let us say there is one bridge that connects one part of the park to the other. You cannot get to the parking lot unless you go through this bridge. However, on the bridge there is a group of people fishing off it into the river below, effectively blocking your entry. They are having a good time.. They are happy. They ignore your requests to move because they think they are going to catch one of the biggest fish they're ever going to catch. They have a project. But now THEIR project becomes YOUR problem/project. Your negative right is affected/effected by their positive ethic of happiness-promotion. In fact, even in utilitarian terms, there are more of them and they are gaining much more happiness from this than you might get for the whole rest of your day, even if you make it to your car.
  • Moliere
    4.3k
    In adult surgeries, sure, but apart from that not really.Leontiskos

    In terms of changing people, though -- calling them to action, effecting guilt to persuade them to change themselves, excising spiritual tumors -- I'd say that's pretty much on par with adult surgery. At least if we're keeping the medical analogy between physical doctors and moral doctors.

    But then you aren't talking about ceding professionals coercive tools at all, which is what we were discussing.Leontiskos

    In the story you linked the professional was a Prophet of God. Which I think fits on par with Jesus, which is where I started :D . We could start there.

    Since we haven't any of those available today:

    In my parenthesis I mentioned texts. We have traditions we come from and can reflect upon and on and with and through, but there is also the whole breadth of philosophy to think through, too: ones we don't necessarily come from, even. Though that gets along with me thinking there isn't really one true philosophy.

    I don't think any of us are professionals at anything more drastic, though. I don't really see the point in shaming someone on the street, for instance, for something I hold dear. If they didn't trust me or care about it, what would it do anyways? What would the point be? Even if we were professionals who could help someone, could we really do it here? Is that the sort of philosophy that ought to operate in a public discussion board?

    I'm super-interested in these ideas as ideas, but I'm fairly doubtful that someone has really figured out how to be a doctor of the soul to the degree that we could just trust them to make a call on when it's ok to lobotomize someone to turn them from serial killer to saint, as a real example from the history of psychology. Sometimes I think doctors are a little overly confident in relation to how little we know. It probably helps them make decisions on the fly, but it doesn't mean I think it's thought through. I include all the doctors of the soul, there -- it's just human nature.

    It's more because the doctor's of the soul are just as human as the patients that autonomy is so important -- be they psychologists, priests or family members. The best of intentions and hell and all that rot.

    In terms of the board here, though:

    I'm motivated to defend pluralism here because I'm interested in hearing how other people think through these problems for the same reason I'm interested in the plural philosophies -- they are beautiful ways of deliberating about what to do. But in the end our community here will only be able to help with things like reflection, consistency, understanding the ideas, and respecting one another's various viewpoints to the best of our capacity, too: so in a way these are the ethical considerations of what we can do here, which is all an ethics can be about between people, I think.

    Though even it, I'd suggest, could be seen as a philosophy-for-this-board: perhaps there are philosophies that are better suited for other spaces. In fact, my pluralism would require it.

    What do you think punishment is?Leontiskos

    Punishment is what you do to someone who breaks a rule.

    Okay, but you still require a principle which explains why things change in the extreme case. Many of us have brought up the extreme case precisely because it disproves the OP. The extreme case disproves the claim that one can never transgress another's will.Leontiskos

    Why do you require a principle? Couldn't you just say "Yeah, that seems to break the rule, I'm not sure I know what to do with that but OK"

    The question is whether they are bad per se; whether they are ethically permissible. To say that they are expedient doesn't answer that question.Leontiskos

    I thought I answered it in the negative -- they are merely expedient, they are the things we do as a society now, though I don't see them as good.

    The idea that morality has to do with acting according to one's intrinsic nature is diametrically opposed to the idea that "ethical thinking occurs between persons who respect one another." This is what the serial killer example shows.Leontiskos

    Only if we're asking for a universal morality, I'd say.

    I like principles, but I do kind of poke fun at the idea of not lying so that the serial killer can know the truth since that is how we respect his humanity. I believe in exceptions that can't be specified in a philosophy.
    ...I'm somewhat overloaded so I will probably need to start drawing myself out of some of these conversations. I suppose the main idea here is that extreme individualism which prizes autonomy and consent ends up being opposed to social living. The members of a society necessarily bump into one another and in doing so change one another's trajectory. A position which rejects this fact of life is simply unrealistic. It doesn't matter whether that position is premised on morality, or autonomy, or consent, or "Taoism," etc.Leontiskos

    No worries I understand. There's a lot of threads going through my mind just from this exchange, and it's been nice to have a spring board of sorts, just so you know. Cheers!
  • frank
    14.9k
    I don't think slave holders in the 1700s or even Nazis had no love for themselves. I just think they had no empathy, which was rooted in their belief that their victims were not fully human. I don't know they could have been convinced otherwise, and I'm not convinced something was broken within them. They were persuaded by the societies that created them.Hanover

    The Portuguese started the Atlantic slave trade. Before they set the plan in motion, they put the question of its morality to the Pope. He said, "Sure, go ahead." True story.
  • Moliere
    4.3k
    I think that's a solid challenge. Thanks for telling me. Interested in the thread, or good to leave it there? I'm satisfied at this point.
  • Joshs
    5.4k


    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t you argue that ‘not doing one’s best’ generally requires that the person who is the target of such an accusation be aware of the fact that they are not doing their best, that they deliberately desired and chose to underperform relative to what they knew they were capable of?
    — Joshs

    No. That someone has not done their best only means that they have not done their best, not that they must have known it. Note too that an assessment that someone is not doing their best need not be an accusation. The person in question need not even be told. If you stop using words like "accusation" you will draw some of the emotion out of this debate, and we might actually come to a considered answer
    Leontiskos

    Are you saying that Susie might not be consciously aware that she is not doing her best? Are you imputing some sort of unconscious psychodynamics here? I thought the morally responsible agent must be acting from free will? Are there two wills at play , a conscious one and an unconscious one, and if so , how can our choices be free if they are made beneath our awareness? I imagine this dialogue between you and little Susie:

    You:” I know you haven’t been doing your best lately with your
    piano lessons, but don’t take this as an accusation. I love you and I only want what’s best for you.”
    Susie looks crestfallen and replies:
    “What do you mean? I’ve never worked so hard at anything in my life. How can you say that?”

    You: “You may think that, but I know better , and so does your teacher.”

    Susie: “ No she doesn’t. She takes what I say at face value, because she knows I’m a sincere person.”

    You:
    “ It has nothing to do with sincerity. You have a little demon whispering in your ear not to try as hard as you can, but their voice is so soft, it only penetrates to a deep subliminal level of your psyche.”

    Susie: “Then how can you hear the demon?”

    You: “ Um, I can’t. I just know you , and what you’re capable of.”

    Now Susie calls up her Kellian psychotherapist( Susie is very precocious.She also has a lawyer, so FYI) , who quotes Kelly directly on this point:

    “We do not use the conscious-unconscious dichotomy, but we do recognize that some of the personal constructs a person seeks to subsume within his system prove to be fleeting or elusive. But of this we are sure, if they are important in a person's life it is a mistake to say they are unconscious or that he is unaware of them. Every day he experiences them, often all too poignantly, except he cannot put his finger on them nor tell for sure whether they are at the spot the therapist has probed for them.

    Now Susie has a confession to make.
    “Maybe you’re right. I did try hard to embrace piano like I have my artwork, but my heart wasn’t in it. I just didn’t want to disappoint my teacher, and especially you, since I know it meant a lot to you that I become a pianist like my sister.

    The central question still looms: is your position a priori or a posteriori? Is the proposition you assert necessary or contingent?Leontiskos

    I could give a glib answer and say that I believe that my position is necessary only because I have never encountered a situation that invalidated it for me. But that would be a kind of agnosticism , as though my mind could be changed by a counter experience. But my position is a priori, resting on the belief that the concept of immoral intent and motive, which includes not trying hard enough and laziness, is a confused notion.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    Oh yeah. The golden rule, like the 10 commandments, pre-supposes what it should be putting into question, that we harm , disrespect and oppress each other because we desire such outcomes, that is, that we find satisfaction in instigating or allowing them to happen. So we have to be reminded ‘ don’t do that, it’s not nice, even if it feels nice’. My critique is connected with what I wrote you in a previous post about the psyche being a community of selves, such that the idea of being self vs other-directed doesn’t make much sense. We don’t have to be told to be other-directed or empathetic. Our skin doesn't define the boundary of our intrinsic self. The boundary of the self that we care about , and whose enrichment motivates our actions, isn’t physical or spatial , but functional. That is, we naturally embrace into the self all of the world that can be assimilated on enough dimensions of similarity. If we didn’t have this filter, our world would be an indecipherable chaos, as would our ‘self’.

    The golden rule, rather than appreciating our need to make our world recognizable before we can assimilate it ( and this applies especially to the values and thoughts of others unlike us), blames ‘bad intent’, as though we already understand others and still desire to disrespect them (because we’re ‘evil’ or ‘pathological’ or ‘selfish’.) So it perpetuates violence by generating its own violence through anger and blame. Those miscreants who ignore the golden rule deserve to be punished, or at least ostracized and condemned. Can you imagine a world where most people believed that? It would look exactly the same as the world we live in now, where everyone believes in the golden rule and everyone points fingers at each other, throws stones at each other, shuns each other.
    Joshs

    I don't think I fully understand this. Maybe the language is a bit academic for me.

    E.g., - what does this mean? Can you do it in a sentence?

    The boundary of the self that we care about , and whose enrichment motivates our actions, isn’t physical or spatial , but functional. That is, we naturally embrace into the self all of the world that can be assimilated on enough dimensions of similarity. If we didn’t have this filter, our world would be an indecipherable chaos, as would our ‘self’.Joshs

    You're suggesting that the golden rule promotes misunderstanding and then blame. What would be preferable is to is seek to understand the world and other people's values/experiences within it rather than project ethical values (and expectations) upon them? Built into the golden rule is a foundational assumption that any perceived breach of it will be malicious. Therefore blame/punishment.

    Maybe you should start a thread (if there isn't one) on how we pursue moral quesions using the kind of approach you prefer. I can't see how it would work except as theory, given how society currently functions. What would need to change for such ideas to gain traction in a substantive way?
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    Here is an extreme microcosm of what I mean about YOUR projects versus MY rights...schopenhauer1

    I understand, and again, my point is that the rights you are invoking do not exist. For example, we have no right to not be caused suffering. Again, the crux of the question is what counts as a negative right.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    I understand, and again, my point is that the rights you are invoking do not exist. For example, we have no right to not be caused suffering. Again, the crux of the question is what counts as a negative right.Leontiskos

    First off, you didn't address my example. I take this that you don't have a good response?

    Second off, it's about the prohibition of positive ethics at the behest of negative ethics. Thus, "I want this to happen, therefore I get to make you suffer" is the more-or-less what is being discussed. You subtly changed it from "no right to not be caused suffering" in the impersonal. I don't have the right to CAUSE you to suffer because I want something out of it, de facto, just like that, because I want it. There is a difference between that and "generally" being "caused" to suffer (by existence, by the environment, by your own mind, etc.).
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    First off, you didn't address my example. I take this that you don't have a good response?schopenhauer1

    It's not a point of disagreement. I already said that, "I am among those who hold that a good end does not justify an evil means." If you have a right to life and I need an organ transplant then I cannot kill you in order to obtain an organ, because the end does not justify the means. The real question has to do with what our negative rights are.

    I don't have the right to CAUSE you to suffer because I want something out of it...schopenhauer1

    No one thinks you have that right. The question is whether your victim has a right that prevents you. You are incorrectly multiplying rights.

    Thus, "I want this to happen, therefore I get to make you suffer" is the more-or-less what is being discussed. You subtly changed it from "no right to not be caused suffering" in the impersonal.schopenhauer1

    The antinatalist seems to think that the right of a preexistent person is being infringed when they are conceived. The right that is said to be infringed is the right to not be brought into a world which contains suffering (absent consent). My point is that the preexistent person has no such right, and therefore procreation does not infringe this right.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    It's not a point of disagreement. I already said that, "I am among those who hold that a good end does not justify an evil means." If you have a right to life and I need an organ transplant then I cannot kill you in order to obtain an organ, because the end does not justify the means. The real question has to do with what our negative rights are.Leontiskos

    So you are not in disagreement, but yet you do disagree, because the example exemplifies my point, which again, you agree with.

    But no, you then say you don't here...

    I don't have the right to CAUSE you to suffer because I want something out of it...
    — schopenhauer1

    No one thinks you have that right. The question is whether your victim has a right that prevents you. You are incorrectly multiplying rights.
    Leontiskos

    And I don't even know what you are getting at there, so you'd have to be very careful in clarifying that.

    The antinatalist seems to think that the right of a preexistent person is being infringed when they are conceived. The right that is said to be infringed is the right to not be brought into a world which contains suffering (absent consent). My point is that the preexistent person has no such right, and therefore procreation does not infringe this right.Leontiskos

    OOOHH so instead of the argument at hand, it's moving the target to a different one (non-identity). Lame.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    OOOHH so instead of the argument at hand, it's moving the target to a different one (non-identity). Lame.schopenhauer1

    I never said that the reason the preexistent person has no such right is because they do not exist, although that is also a perfectly good objection. There is a cornucopia of problems with antinatalism. A piñata with candy for everyone who takes a whack. :wink:

    ...I've just realized why you utilize the strange term "negative ethics." It's ultimately because you want to have duties which are not correlated to any rights. Rights-based ethics is very difficult for antinatalism.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k

    So again, let me do an archeological excavation of the conversation..
    1) We were discussing whether a positive ethic should override a negative ethic.
    1a) I gave a specific example of if a project promotes welfare or happiness, but it violates the negative ethic of not causing harm to another.
    1b) You agreed with the point of this example (or so you said), that someone's positive project, even if it leads to their welfare, cannot be an excuse to cause harm to another.

    2) I admitted that there is a difference between cases of "preventative" and "remediation". Preventative are cases where the harm could clearly be prevented, full stop. There was no need to cause someone else's suffering by your positive desire for a project.
    2b) I also admitted that if someone is already put into a situation of harm, then remediative ethics comes into play. That is to say, ethics whereby now one must negotiate how to trade greater harms for a lesser harms.

    3) You then said that "one doesn't have a right to no suffering".
    3a) I responded that I didn't say they have a right to "no suffering", just that one doesn't have a right to cause suffering (if it can be prevented) because one wants to promote a positive project.
    3b) You seemed to agree, but then shifted the focus to the non-identity problem
    3c) You disagreed and said it's because "If they don't exist they have no rights".

    So as far as I'm concerned, almost everything of what I said so far has been agreed to by you, except as applied to "preexistent persons". I still say this is the identity problem. The main focus of the debate has now shifted to whether ethical considerations can be taken for future people, which of course, I would simply start defending this position. I just want to acknowledge that we have gotten this far.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    1b) You agreed with the point of this example (or so you said), that someone's positive project, even if it leads to their welfare, cannot be an excuse to cause harm to another.schopenhauer1

    The argument you have been making has two parts: 1) If I am not allowed to do something then I am not allowed to do it even if it would be helpful or useful to me, 2) I am not allowed to cause suffering. Clearly you are arguing for antinatalism.

    What I have said from the very start is that the problem with your argument is (2). (1) is trivial, but you keep arguing it even though no one has opposed you.

    3) You then said that "one doesn't have a right to no suffering".schopenhauer1

    No I did not. The accurate quote is, "we have no negative right not to be caused suffering*" (). Strawmen aside, I was saying that we have no negative right not to be caused suffering [by other people]. Obviously we also have no right not to be caused suffering by nature.

    3b) You seemed to agree, but then shifted the focus to the non-identity problemschopenhauer1

    No I did not, and in fact I already told you that I did not. You are persisting in an error that has already been clarified.

    3c) You disagreed and said it's because "If they don't exist they have no rights".schopenhauer1

    You failed to read what I wrote. Go back and try reading it again.

    If we continue this we should move it into the antinatalism thread.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.3k


    My answer has been that you cannot generally justify a positive ethic over a negative ethic if there was no need for it.. In other words, if I am causing the source of harm for you (negative ethic), in order to make you go through a positive ethic (character building) this is wrong. However, if you are ALREADY in a situation whereby you need remediation (child-rearing), it may be said that if one is the caregiver, one can impose a positive ethic, as it is now perhaps necessary in order for the person to flourish in the future in some way. The harm has been done (one failed to prevent), so now one remediates.

    How does this work with billionaires sitting on their fortunes like Smaug and trying to tax them so you can provide for the common good? You're clearly causing at least some of them great harm, to hear them talk of it anyhow, and they are only going to benefit from the harmful tax in a rather indirect way.

    Or military conscription? Harming older people through climate change legislation that will have no meaningful impact in their lifetimes?

    Common good and collective action issues seem to be an issue.

    As far as anti-natalism (I did start Ligotti's book, it's quite good), the principle of "you should never deprive someone of happiness or pleasure for no reason" would just cut the other way, no?

    My first thought is that you could probably cleverly rework most positive statements into negative ones or vice versa.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    The argument you have been making has two parts: 1) If I am not allowed to do something then I am not allowed to do it even if it would be helpful or useful to meLeontiskos

    No, that is misconstruing it again. "If I am not allowed to do something...". Well, of course what does that mean? Rather, you are not allowed to do something in regards to if or how it affects another person's negative ethics. If it does then, correct, it is not allowed.

    What I have said from the very start is that the problem with your argument is (2). (1) is trivial, but you keep arguing it even though no one has opposed you.Leontiskos

    That is because you split it up from the whole thing which is that a positive ethic should not override a negative ethic. I also think it is not trivial as some people's ethics might say that causing some "unnecessary harm" is okay. And then I stipulated when I thought it was "okay" (remediation from harm already occurring).

    No I did not. The accurate quote is, "we have no negative right not to be caused suffering*" (↪Leontiskos). Strawmen aside, I was saying that we have no negative right not to be caused suffering [by other people].Leontiskos

    Again, it does lead to trivializing the argument unless you add in the "Negative right not to be caused suffering from your positive projects".

    No I did not, and in fact I already told you that I did not. You are persisting in an error that has already been clarified.Leontiskos

    Yet, you don't really have any counter-arguments. I especially was waiting so on the example I gave, and you said you did not agree there. So which is it?

    If we continue this we should move it into the antinatalism thread.Leontiskos

    You have turned it into it by persistence on the non-identity issue. It can remain a non-AN argument nonetheless. Go back to my example for a very minor example of what I mean.
  • T Clark
    13.3k
    What part of the golden rule is dissatisfying, do you think?Moliere

    Actually, I like it a lot. It seems perfect. Problem is, it doesn't really fit into what I have been describing. I said this to @Frank in an earlier post:

    I'd like to think that behaving in accordance with the golden rule will arise automatically when we all live in accordance with our inner natures. I'm not sure that's true. I'm not even sure that behaving in accordance with the golden rule will arise automatically when I live in accordance with my inner nature.T Clark

    When is everything working correctly?Moliere

    What I describe is not easy for me. It takes self-awareness, which I'm pretty good at, but it also takes fortitude, which I often lack.

    I'm not opposed, it's just sometimes these states seem a little mythical to myself: they're idealizations which sound pleasant, but I can say I like the articulations and deliberations because I'm not always acting without acting -- sometimes I'm wondering "Hrm, so what now?"Moliere

    I can't say I never ask "So what now," but often I don't need to. That's what I mean by "everything working correctly."
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