• ToothyMaw
    984
    Let’s say there is an ostensibly relative meta-rule of application. It would determine whether or not a very specific rule needs to be applied because it has been broken, but it is - mostly - not relative because the actor is stipulated not to matter and the circumstances under which the broken rule applies is distinct from the circumstances under which every other rule applies; its application to the very specific rule is non arbitrary and predicated on conditions that are always true (save whether or not the the very specific rule has been broken) - namely that the very specific broken rule applies regardless of actor, and in the distinct circumstances built into it.

    Distinct, in this context, refers to the content of rules that is true regardless of whether or not the content of other laws is true - namely actor and circumstance, and the conditions that mean it has been broken.

    However, whether or not the very specific rule is broken is a direct result of whether or not someone takes an action that breaks the rule - and so the meta-rule shifts: the selection of the very specific rule for application is predicated solely on someone's actions. Well, as far as I can tell, actions are the result of choice, which is a function of cause and effect, even if one believes in different possible future outcomes. For example: let's say there is a very specific law dictating that "no one should rob pharmacies for medication to reduce their wife's blistering fever". A man robs a pharmacy to get medication to reduce his wife's blistering fever. He wouldn't have done it if his wife didn't have a blistering fever.

    He perhaps could have chosen otherwise, but not in the context of the meta-rule; the existence of the shifting meta-rule dictates that the buck must stop somewhere, and if not in the intelligible, original cause of the action that breaks the rule, or somewhere further back, then where? At the point where he could have chosen otherwise? But the meta-rule’s conditions would not be satisfied; if one believes in free will then that point is a junction unaffected by past causes - and the meta-rule needs a basic, original cause.

    Even if one adopts an agent-causal theory and the action originates in a free choice, this does not satisfy the meta-rule’s need for a basic, original cause because the choice, and thus action, would be unaffected by external causation; while one may be able to start new causal chains via their actions unaffected by previous events or the laws of nature, these causal chains don’t give a causal explanation of the origination of the action; they originated with a free, uncaused choice. The meta-rule requires a basic original cause, and thus, the meta-rule cannot be applied and there is a breakdown of some of the most basic ideas that our legal system operates on.

    Also: if one asserts that the man made a free choice and also that the meta-rule applies (there is an original cause for the rule being broken), the first cause, traced from the breaking of the rule, is the action, which is itself caused by the choice. The choice that causes the action is not the result of external causation, but rather caused by something inherent to the free aspect of a free choice. This something, however, even if purported to be the original cause, couldn't be the result of anything external to itself; Furthermore, it is ontologically distinct from external causes; the causal chain starting with the rule being broken must stop with the action, and the action just exists; it cannot have been the result of a free choice, in the context of the meta-rule. The man couldn't have chosen otherwise and is thus absolved of wrongdoing.

    Thus, according to a certain libertarian view, the meta-rule governing whether or not a very specific non arbitrary rule should be applied should not be applied if the circumstances built into the broken rule are distinct from the circumstances that are included in any other rule.
  • tim wood
    8.4k
    Well, hmm, let's see. It would seem the meta-rule is that if some subordinate rule is broken, then some machinery should come into action, in particular the remedies for the particular rule's being broken. And in particular cases, the breaking of the rule is what triggers the operations of the rules. So far so good?

    Corollary: breaking any subordinate rule breaks all the rules super-ordinate to it. But not subordinate to it.

    If I get the rest of the argument, it goes like this. Breaking a subordinate rule can be a free act that could have been otherwise. At the superordinate level, however, it is the fact of the act itself that operates, irrespective of freedom. Thus the act is neither free nor not free. Because qua the act is is not free, then it is not a free act. Thus justice precludes freedom. Best to stop here to check in. Is this yours, or not?
  • ToothyMaw
    984
    It would seem the meta-rule is that if some subordinate rule is broken, then some machinery should come into action, in particular the remedies for the particular rule's being broken. And in particular cases, the breaking of the rule is what triggers the operations of the rules. So far so good?tim wood

    Perfect.

    Breaking a subordinate rule can be a free act that could have been otherwise. At the superordinate level, however, it is the fact of the act itself that operates, irrespective of freedom. Thus the act is neither free nor not free. Because qua the act is is not free, then it is not a free act. Thus justice precludes freedom.tim wood

    Yes, that is correct. But this only applies for rules that are very specific; they must have circumstances that are distinct built into them.

    Is this yours, or not?tim wood

    Do you mean did I copy it from somewhere? Or are you asking if this represents my argument?
  • ToothyMaw
    984
    Corollary: breaking any subordinate rule breaks all the rules super-ordinate to it. But not subordinate to it.tim wood

    Breaking a subordinate rule can be a free act that could have been otherwise. At the superordinate level, however, it is the fact of the act itself that operates, irrespective of freedom. Thus the act is neither free nor not free. Because qua the act is is not free, then it is not a free act. Thus justice precludes freedom.tim wood

    You put it so simply; elegant writing really.
  • tim wood
    8.4k
    Or are you asking if this represents my argument?ToothyMaw
    Your argument or my (mis)-understanding. Original author does not matter too much (to me) unless some claim is made, or it is otherwise germane.
  • ToothyMaw
    984
    Well, I wrote this, but it took quite a bit of thought. Had to do a lot of googling.
  • ToothyMaw
    984
    You represented it well. Wish I could read a post on the fly and understand it like that.
  • tim wood
    8.4k
    And yet it seems to me that Law at its base acknowledges and must acknowledge free choice - although what exactly that means is here left undefined - because, e.g., whoever is punished either for gravity or violating gravity? Or for breathing, or for any other thing where free choice does not apply. Further, there is a general saying that necessity knows no law, implying that free choice must be present. Not a part of any actual code, but (imo) informing justice.
  • ToothyMaw
    984
    And yet it seems to me that Law at its base acknowledges and must acknowledge free choice - although what exactly that means is here left undefined - because, e.g., whoever is punished either for gravity or violating gravity? Or for breathing, or for any other thing where free choice does not apply. Further, there is a general saying that necessity knows no law, implying that free choice must be present. Not a part of any actual code, but (imo) informing justice.tim wood

    I think laws should exist only insofar as they create social cohesion, human flourishing, animal flourishing, etc. I think that compassion should inform our laws more than a desire to see justice done - as satisfying as justice is. But I definitely see where you are coming from; our current legal system is indeed informed by the idea of free choice.
  • ToothyMaw
    984
    the choice just happens and the man must not have been able to choose otherwise; the man is absolved of wrongdoing.ToothyMaw

    I thought about it: I suppose the action is being viewed as an accident of free choice, and that I'm not engaging with the fact that it is, on a substantive level, caused by something inherent to a free choice that can cause causal chains. But I still don't see what could possibly be the "something".
  • ToothyMaw
    984
    I think that even with the more substantive view, however, the "something" is ontologically different from the potential original cause that can satisfy the conditions that dictate that the meta-rule should be applied. .
  • tim wood
    8.4k
    Perhaps herein a distinction between law and justice. And as changing the direction of the lighting on a stage can make a difference, so perhaps thinking in terms of games, like chess or football.
  • ToothyMaw
    984
    Perhaps herein a distinction between law and justice.tim wood

    I suppose for actions that are considered absolutely free and incredibly selfish justice might be more relevant; a cogent, mentally healthy person who murdered someone because they wanted their wallet should be treated differently than someone who was speeding and hit a mentally ill person who jumped in front of their car. For the first case a severe punishment would be desired, but for the latter, a lot of counseling; they were a victim themselves. Laws could also dictate behavior yet include no content that regards whether or not justice should be served and in what way.
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