• Dusty of Sky
    42
    It seems pretty bogus to me. No two people the same in any respect. Some of that has to do with environment, but some of it also has to do with genetics. Some people are born stupid, lazy sociopaths while others are born brilliant and driven with a tremendous amount of empathy. Are they equal? Is Abraham Lincoln equal to the Sandy Hook shooter? I think not.
  • NKBJ
    1k


    That depends on a whole host of things:
    1. What do you mean by "people"?
    2. What do you mean by "are created"?
    3. What do you mean by "equal"?
  • Relativist
    657
    The Idea that "all People are Created Equal" is a essentially a useful moral principle: anti-chauvinism. If we treat all others as equals, it is to the benefit of society as a whole.
  • Isaac
    714


    See Wittgenstein's discussions in the PI on exactness. Is everyone genetically identical? No. But why would you presume that is the level of exactness the statement is using. If I asked you the height of mount everest would you give it me in millimetres?
  • hachit
    185
    That frase is an Idea of that came from ethical monotheism (Most often drived from christianity). then others adopted the Christian moral system and got rid of God. Replacing it with there own reasons.

    The original resoning (that came from ethical monotheism) when like this
    Were all created by one God, who is the objective standard of morality.
    Thus because we're created by the same God were all equal.

    Of course this resoning only works if you believe in only one god and they haven't said anything contradictory.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.2k
    The Idea that "all People are Created Equal" is a essentially a useful moral principle: anti-chauvinism. If we treat all others as equals, it is to the benefit of society as a whole.Relativist

    This. It's not intended as a literal ontological claim.
  • Shamshir
    181
    It seems pretty bogus to me. No two people the same in any respect.Dusty of Sky
    That's what makes them equal. They are equally inequal.

    If you consider people to be puzzle pieces, you'll get what the statement means.
  • tim wood
    2.4k
    No two people the same in any respect.Dusty of Sky

    "Any respect"? Really? Any respect at all? You want to think about that a little more?
  • Valentinus
    403

    As the idea developed, being equal in the eyes of the creator was always a simultaneous acceptance of "our" limits as evaluators because none of us are going be creating universes.

    As a null set of human judgement, it excludes the divine right of kings along with regimes based upon "natural" principles. The equality is the horizon of distinction, not a replacement for it.

    While the idea presents many problems for us as a species and a community, it has demonstrated its value many times against the worst of those who would judge your worth by speaking for God or Nature.
  • SophistiCat
    749
    The popular wisdom says that there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Philosophy supplies a forceful counterargument to that sentiment: the best philosophy is all about asking good questions - the corollary of which is that there are inept, stupid questions. And yours is a prime example.

    I suppose that if you came from a background where you never encountered the phrase "all people are created equal," and you then encountered it outside of any context, then your confusion would be understandable. But I am pretty sure that that is not the case with you. And so I enjoin you to think about that context, and think well next time before you post an new topic on this forum.
  • Frank Apisa
    749
    I actually agree with Relativeist on this.

    The sense of what is being conveyed...the moral principle...is on the button.

    A careful examination of the words would show that it is not true in a formal, grammatical standard.

    By the way...keep in mind that the original thought did not use "people." It used "men."
  • iolo
    43
    Doesn't 'equal' or 'unequal' depend on what things are for, so that knives, being for cutting, are not equal because some are better at that. What are people for?
  • BrianW
    757


    If equality is about similarity, conformity, adaptability, intelligence, etc, etc then we're not equal. If it's about "belonging" then we all have an equal claim to life and reality. Perhaps that's what equality refers to.
  • whollyrolling
    408
    People are unequal in countless ways, but in certain idealists' world views people deserve to be treated as though they are of equal intrinsic value until they demonstrate otherwise, and maybe even after they demonstrate otherwise, depending on the severity of their demonstration.

    There are numerous scenarios in which I would argue that equality is either assigned or adjusted in error, but the overall effect is that we're not extinct yet, so I suppose that's one inadvertent positive outcome.

    I appreciate the humour in the "some are more equal than others" adage.
  • I like sushi
    902
    We’re born and then we die. Pretty big equalizer! Haha!
  • thedeadidea
    98
    I think there is a misreading of classical liberalism in that its Rhetoric and the Idealism it was written in were a profess of Transcendental Values or Idealistic Principles....

    That is to say, not everyone is as smart, or born as wealthy whatever... But it is to say just because you are stronger than a woman you don't get to beat her with a stick.... Right because she has rights and dignity as a person that one elevates.

    Below from the United States.... You can see the admission of assumption or more precisely the axiomatic basis of values with the "WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF EVIDENT,"
    That was the initial justification, the deliberation and the conclusion by saying WE TAKE THESE VALUES AS AXIOMS... life, liberty etc etc.

    The truth is as entailed to rights that someone with down syndrome doesn't get treated as a non-person and someone who is poor doesn't get cut from the right to vote or due process of law. I think the question is a misreading intentional or otherwise if you think people some 300ish yrs ago believed for so many reasons a one legged man had an even chance in an ass kicking contest.
  • TheMadFool
    3.2k
    This is very complicated so I'll only talk about what seems relevant.

    Equality is an ethical concept arising from the fact that inequality leads to injustices (slavery, racism, nepotism, exploitation to name a few) and that is cause for much suffering. This suffering is bad not only for the victim, whose plight is quite obvious, but also for the victimizer who loses his humanity. It's a lose-lose situation.

    There was a thread on the forum: Why is racism unethical? and although I didn't read all the posts I remember that nobody could answer the question directly. That alone speaks volumes for your case.

    Inequality is undeniable but not unalterable. The former is where we were/are and the latter is where we want to be.

    I guess I'm saying all men are NOT equal but that all men SHOULD BE equal.
  • ernestm
    454


    Thats correct, actually. Really it should say 'all people are created equal in the eyes of God.' By whatever scale one uses, people are not created equal in what they are or have--in physicality, fiscal inheritance, or place of residence and nationality, people are unequal. People are created equal in the eyes of God, not because of what they are, or what they have, but because, to God,

    it matters what people DO with what they are, or what they have.

    That was the original point.
  • Dusty of Sky
    42
    But what does it mean that we should be equal?

    Are you suggesting that we genetically engineer all humans to be equally attractive with equal IQs? What about the inequality of value that arises from the fact that some humans are just morally superior to others? Should we try to genetically engineer all people to be equally morally principled? Is that even possible? If it is possible, it sounds terrifying.

    Or are you saying that even though we should be equal (in some ideal world, perhaps), we also shouldn't pursue total equality as a goal?

    Or are you only referring to particular kinds of inequalities?
  • Dusty of Sky
    42
    And so I enjoin you to think about that context, and think well next time before you post an new topic on this forum.SophistiCat

    I'm sensing a bit of frustration and unfriendliness in your reply. Did you think I was trolling or something? Or was my post just so unintelligent that you felt the need to shoo me off this venerable forum? I promise, I asked it in good faith, and it's a topic I've thought about a great deal.

    The point I was making wasn't "haha, some people are blondes and some are brunettes, therefore inequality". I agree, that would be stupid. The question I was trying to raise was whether all people are of equal value. That's why I used the examples of Abraham Lincoln and the Sandy Hook shooter.

    The truth is as entailed to rights that someone with down syndrome doesn't get treated as a non-person and someone who is poor doesn't get cut from the right to vote or due process of law.thedeadidea

    We do our best to treat people with down-syndrome well. But we certainly don't treat them as equals. Nor should we. I wish them the best, and most of them are fine people, but clearly, they can't be trusted with regular responsibilities. So we deny them some of the freedoms we grant to the rest of the adult population. There are many categories of people that we treat differently, and depending on the category, this difference in treatment may or may not be just.

    Doesn't 'equal' or 'unequal' depend on what things are for, so that knives, being for cutting, are not equal because some are better at that. What are people for?iolo

    What are smart phones for? A number of different things. But clearly, there are some features we want our smart phones to have, and others that we don't want them to have. The same goes with humans, and I'd say that this is a clear indication that we do have purposes. I think our primary purpose is to sustain and improve upon the life of our species, particularly those lives which we are most capable of impacting.

    The Idea that "all People are Created Equal" is a essentially a useful moral principle: anti-chauvinism. If we treat all others as equals, it is to the benefit of society as a whole.Relativist

    But maybe society would benefit if we were more comfortable acknowledging that some people have more to offer society than others, and that a few are even a burden upon society. That doesn't mean we should instate a caste system. But at the very least, we should be able to agree that we deserve better role models than the Kardashians.

    While the idea presents many problems for us as a species and a community, it has demonstrated its value many times against the worst of those who would judge your worth by speaking for God or Nature.Valentinus

    I agree that the idea was useful in the 18th century. But is it still useful?

    If equality is about similarity, conformity, adaptability, intelligence, etc, etc then we're not equal. If it's about "belonging" then we all have an equal claim to life and reality. Perhaps that's what equality refers to.BrianW

    But what if some lives are more valuable than others? Can our claims to life be equal then?
  • SophistiCat
    749
    The point I was making wasn't "haha, some people are blondes and some are brunettes, therefore inequality". I agree, that would be stupid. The question I was trying to raise was whether all people are of equal value. That's why I used the examples of Abraham Lincoln and the Sandy Hook shooter.Dusty of Sky

    It is stupid. Again, I have to ask, do you have any idea about the context and the history of the phrase? Any idea at all? If you don't then the obvious thing would be to find out before attempting to philosophize. Post the question in Questions if you don't know how to use Google.
  • Dusty of Sky
    42
    It is stupid. Again, I have to ask, do you have any idea about the context and the history of the phrase? Any idea at all? If you don't then the obvious thing would be to find out before attempting to philosophize. Post the question in Questions if you don't know how to use Google.SophistiCat

    Maybe it was misleading of me to use the phrase from the Declaration of Independence. I wasn't trying to start a historical discussion about the intentions of the Founding Fathers and their use of language. I was interested in whether we should view people as equals, specifically with regard to their inherent value.
  • BrianW
    757
    But what if some lives are more valuable than others? Can our claims to life be equal then?Dusty of Sky

    More valuable, how? What is that value and how is it determined? If it's in how beneficial we are to others, there's the question of what those others are and what nature the benefits are in comparison to human life, for example, if such as food and medicines benefit human lives, are they more valuable than those human lives?
    Then there's the question of what that value signifies, for example, if we say that mother Teresa is more valuable than Hitler, then would it mean that if they fought she would win? Or, simply, what benefits does the greater value confer in relation to those of lesser value?

    I think all lives are equally valuable because any value we could assign fails to match the significance of a human life. For example, what are gold and diamonds without humans to appreciate them? Therefore, human life (or life) is the summit of value, such that, it could not be increased or diminished by anything other than itself (and also it is life that bestows value upon everything else).
  • TheMadFool
    3.2k
    But what does it mean that we should be equal?

    Are you suggesting that we genetically engineer all humans to be equally attractive with equal IQs? What about the inequality of value that arises from the fact that some humans are just morally superior to others? Should we try to genetically engineer all people to be equally morally principled? Is that even possible? If it is possible, it sounds terrifying.

    Or are you saying that even though we should be equal (in some ideal world, perhaps), we also shouldn't pursue total equality as a goal?

    Or are you only referring to particular kinds of inequalities?
    Dusty of Sky

    Freewill is a necessity for morality otherewise we couldn't own our actions, good or bad. Genetically engineering humans to be moral amounts to making us into mindless automatons without freewill. I don't think that's a good thing but some may find such a possibility appealing because for them evil is too high a price to pay for freewill.

    Equality or its absence is a moral issue isn't it? Equality is one of the pillars of goodness for without it all forms of discrimination, which causes suffering, would flourish. The fact is that equality is not natural because we can always construct a power structure based on a difference e.g. skin color, appearance, IQ and any number of other things can be used to separate people into groups and then establish a superiority-inferiority hierarchy. In other words inequality is part of the natural order.

    However, morality is not about the way the world is but about the way the world ought be. I don't know when humans realized that the world could be better i.e. it could be improved but one very good example of such beginnings can be seen in the concept of heaven and hell. Heaven, a place where all life lives in harmony without conflict, is the quintessential example of the understanding that we could improve the way the world is. A natural extension of this is our desire for equality and that's why I think equality should be an aim even though it isn't a fact.
  • Maw
    1.3k
    others are born brilliant and driven with a tremendous amount of empathyDusty of Sky

    Yeah the film Baby Geniuses was actually a documentary.
  • I like sushi
    902
    I look at it like this. No one is my superior in life. We’re not the same though so some people are better suited (efficient) in some areas more than others.

    I am the best at being me.

    If I was pushed as to how I would measure people against each other I would go for “potential”. No one has equal potential and no one really knows how to measure potential either so I just stick to saying ‘no one is my superior’ and leave it at that.

    If you’re just talking about skills and abilities the it is quite clear that people are not equal. To add, what is deemed a detriment to one person may be a benefit to another.
  • SophistiCat
    749
    Context and history do matter; the phrase "all men are created equal" is too ambiguous otherwise. You can speculate all day what it means to be "equal" without getting anywhere.

    That's not to say that the framers of the American constitution had a very sharp and robust meaning in mind. But they were writing these words for a quite specific purpose and within a certain tradition of thought as regards natural human rights and the principles of governance that were well known at the time.
  • unenlightened
    3.6k
    Context and history do matter; the phrase "all men are created equal" is too ambiguous otherwise.SophistiCat

    Let's add the context therefore - "... in dignity and rights." And immediately every objection falls away.

    Dignity and rights are social constructs and thus whatever we 'hold as self-evident' is the case.
  • thedeadidea
    98
    We do our best to treat people with down-syndrome well. But we certainly don't treat them as equals. Nor should we. I wish them the best, and most of them are fine people, but clearly, they can't be trusted with regular responsibilities. So we deny them some of the freedoms we grant to the rest of the adult population. There are many categories of people that we treat differently, and depending on the category, this difference in treatment may or may not be just.Dusty of Sky

    This is just wrong try googling " can people with down syndrome live on their own" or even the insensitive " average iq of people with down syndrome " you will be exposed to a more enlightened view than your current assumptions on what down syndrome is....

    To your OP I have nothing else to say that I did not say prior.
  • Christoffer
    543


    In what context do you conclude people to not be the same? If we are talking about biology and psychology, then yes, people are very different between individuals and groups.

    However, the biological differences are rarely or ever sole reasons for who they become in life. The environment is at a greater play here; what people learn, think is truth etc. While measurable things in psychology like IQ shows a set framework for what a person's mental capabilities are, it's never possible to predict who they will be. If someone gets brain damage that radically changes their personality, it can either be positive or negative based on the damage.

    So the differences that exist are irrelevant really. The responsibility for all to teach empathy with balanced morals and methods of handling conflicts and arguments in order to be what we call a "good person", is the only thing that matters in society if the purpose is to improve people's lives.

    We already know that we are different from each other, so what is the point? The sky is blue, the grass is green, the rock is hard and the cloth is soft. That people are different from each other becomes a pointless remark that has no real practical value since it's an obvious truth with no relation to the problems it's mostly connected to. Only for eugenics, racists and similar thinkers are the differences a basis for ideals.

    Some people are born stupid, lazy sociopathsDusty of Sky

    Side note: you cannot be really be born a sociopath, that's a psychopath. A sociopath is someone who generally gains psychopathic traits out of purely sociological factors. While a psychopath doesn't have a conscience, a sociopath has, but it's barely there, probably because the sociological factors "programmed" them down that path.
  • iolo
    43
    Dusty of Sky wrote:
    What are smart phones for? A number of different things. But clearly, there are some features we want our smart phones to have, and others that we don't want them to have. The same goes with humans, and I'd say that this is a clear indication that we do have purposes. I think our primary purpose is to sustain and improve upon the life of our species, particularly those lives which we are most capable of impacting.

    I think a very large number would disagree with you, and the chances are that the species is not going to be allowed to live much longer. People have no purpose - they just are, and this debate is aimless
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment