Comments

  • "Aristotle and Other Platonists:" A Review of the work of Lloyd Gerson
    - Thanks Paine, I will try to offer a response sometime in the next few days.
  • What is a "Woman"
    Oh, discrimination is not only not a negative, it's essential to human existance. Since in it's absence we'd treat each other identically ie we'd never learn from experience.LuckyR

    I agree. :up:

    Of course, there is a key difference between discrimination between groups and individuals. For example it is more than reasonable for an insurance company to charge more for all businesses in a neighborhood (that happens to be majority Black) that experiences more vandalism. It's completely unreasonable to charge a business that happens to be own by a Black man but located in a neighborhood with average vandalism, a high premium.LuckyR

    Well, if the insured businesses are more likely to be vandalized then it is reasonable for the insurance company to charge higher premiums, regardless of whether groups or individuals are involved.
  • How would you respond to the trolley problem?
    I already explicated this in my response: Q is not intended if Q is not a means towards P and P was intended.Bob Ross

    No, you have not already explicated that. You gave a case when Q is not necessarily intended, and this is different from giving a case where it is not intended.

    So now you say <If Q is not a means to the intended P then Q is not intended>. Okay, it is good that you answered, even though your answer is false. If A is throwing a stone, P is hitting bird 1, and Q is hitting bird 2, then Q is intended even though it is not a means to P. This is the “two birds with one stone” case that I already gave, which is the same as the “V” circuit where vertex P and vertex Q are both intended.

    But what you have failed to do over and over again is to tell us when Q is the means and when Q is not the means. You have been begging the question by repeating, “Q is a means in the trolley/plane/car case!” Herg and I have been providing analyses of when something is a means and when it is not, and we have been trying to lure you into a real analysis of what it is for something to be a means. Of course you have now provided an analysis in terms of conditional necessity.

    What I am going to do is focus on the water case, because that is the sole case where you claim that Q is not a means to P. If it is shown that your claim fails there according to your own analysis of what it is to be a means, then it will become more apparent that you have offered no substantial analysis of what it is for something to be a means. For parity let us assume that the water is necessary to live:

    • A: Give water to the first person
    • P: The first person lives (because of the water)
    • Q: The second person dies (for lack of water)

    If we look at the quotes from your previous post, we find that you must hold that Q is intentional killing, because you must hold that Q is a means to P:

    1. Q is intended in this case because it is a means towards P. Without hitting the two people, one cannot avoid hitting the four people—that’s exactly what it means to use something as a meansBob Ross

    In the water case, without the second person dying for lack of water, one cannot avoid the death of the first person. P cannot be achieved without Q. Therefore on your reasoning, Q is a means to P, and is therefore intended.

    3. Hitting the two people to save the five is an action which results in the deaths of the two; which is thereby an act of killing (as opposed to letting them die).Bob Ross

    In the water case, depriving the second person to save the first is an action which results in the death of the second person. On your reasoning, this is an act of intentional killing, where P cannot be achieved without Q.

    6... does NOT takeaway from the fact that one cannot in this scenario achieve the end without X.Bob Ross

    One cannot achieve P without Q, therefore on your reasoning Q was a means to P.

    Your error in all of this is conflating conditional necessity with the presence of a means. You are trying to say, “If in causing P I necessarily cause Q, then Q was a means to P.” This is actually contrary to our mutual premise that <If I intend A and A causes effects P and Q, then I do not necessarily intend Q, even when I know that A causes Q>. The presupposition behind this premise is that P is a good effect and Q is a bad effect, and that there are cases where we cannot get P without also getting Q. That is the whole point of the rider: even when I know that A causes Q. You are more or less just denying that rider by claiming that whenever A is known to cause Q, Q is automatically a “means” to P. If P were possible without Q then A would not cause both P and Q.

    Or else, go study the diagram I drew up, paying particular attention to the “V” shape. If we are aiming to provide current to vertex P, then we must apply current to vertex A, and this will necessarily result in current flowing to vertex Q, but it does not follow that the current flowing to Q is a means to the current flowing to P! A will supply current to P whether or not Q exists, and this is completely different from the “7” shape.

    It’s not so hard to logically demonstrate the contradiction:

    1. (P Q) (Q is a means to P)
    2. (A (P ^ Q)) (A (P Q))
    3. A (P ^ Q)
    4. ∴ A (Q is a means to P)
    5. Contradiction with respect to our agreed premise: <If I intend A and A causes effects P and Q, then I do not necessarily intend Q, even when I know that A causes Q>

    (If (4) were true then Q is necessarily intended given that P is intended.)

    Your error is (1). It does not follow from the conditional necessity of Q that Q is a means. Note that, "One cannot achieve P without Q," is the same as (P Q).

    The other absurdity that results from your view is that Q is a means to P and P is a means to Q, which is of course impossible. This is because in (2) (P ^ Q) is interchangeable with (Q ^ P), and what this means is that A leads both to the conclusion that Q is a means to P and to the conclusion that P is a means to Q. In other words: (A (P ^ Q)) (A (P Q)).

    By “murder” do you mean an unlawful, premeditated, killing OR an immoral, deliberate, killing? I am going to straight up reject the former (legal) definition if that is what you meant; because it is going to derail the conversation substantially.Bob Ross

    By murder I mean intentional killing, and by “causing death” I mean killing that is not necessarily intentional. The simple word, “killing,” is completely inadequate to our purposes given its ambiguity with respect to intention. I suggest we avoid using that word unless we prefix it with “intentional” or “non-intentional.”
  • How would you respond to the trolley problem?
    I agree that “if I intend A and A causes effects P and Q, then I do not necessarily intend Q even when I know A causes Q” and I agree that “Q is intended when it is a means by which P is achieved.Bob Ross

    Okay good, but the key thing you need to do is explain the case in which Q is not intended. Are you saying that it is not intended whenever it is not a means to P?

    However, here’s what I think you are missing: letting something happen is not the same as doing something: the former is inaction which has its consequences (due to its absence), whereas the latter is action which has its consequences (due to its presence).Bob Ross

    So as I said, "I think what is happening here is that you are hoping that the deaths that occur via the pilot's omission are better than the deaths that occur via the pilot's commission, even if more people end up dying on the omission." What is at stake is a distinction between a commission and an omission.

    I didn’t explicate this very clearly before, because quite frankly I am having to dive in deeper into this (conversing with you) than I have before, but letting an innocent person die is not necessarily immoral; whereas killing an innocent person is. This is the relevant difference in your examples.Bob Ross

    Okay, fair enough, and I agree with that, although you would apparently disagree with my opinion that killing a person must necessarily involve an intention to kill them.

    To determine whether or not one is killing an innocent person or letting them die, one needs to determine if an action which they committed is responsible for their death—viz., “if action A from P1 results in P2’s death, then P1 killed P2”. This is separate from whether or not a person intentionally kills or lets them die; and what we are discussing is the combination of one killing (i.e., taking action which results in a death) in conjunction with one’s actions being deliberate (or having knowledge which would implicate them).Bob Ross

    This business about judging one's responsibility for an omission vs. a commission comes from my charge that the pilot's omission of ceasing to fly the plane is a culpable omission. I am going to set aside that question for the time being given that it places too many dishes on our plate.

    • A: Some action done by P1
    • P: Some effect
    • Q: P2's death

    Did P1 kill P2? Or to be more precise, did P1 intentionally kill P2, or else did P1's action merely cause P2's death? "Kill" is ambiguous as to whether intent is involved. So I propose we avoid the verb "kill" altogether, and talk about murder vs. causing death. "Murder" isn't a perfect word, but it's better than anything else I can think of.

    1. Q is intended in this case because it is a means towards P. Without hitting the two people, one cannot avoid hitting the four people—that’s exactly what it means to use something as a means (i.e., it is a necessarily utility expended to produce an desired outcome). This is no different than the case where one steals the water to quench someone’s thirst.Bob Ross

    Your argument is that <A means is a necessarily utility expended to produce an desired outcome; Q is a necessarily utility expended to produce an desired outcome; Therefore Q is a means>.

    This is unwieldy. I like @Herg's definition better:

    A means is something that facilitates or enables the performance of some action.Herg

    You responded:

    Killing one person to save the five is what enables the person to save the five. Without being able to kill the one person, they cannot save the five.Bob Ross

    Now Herg's point was that pulling the lever is what enabled the person to save the five, and killing the one person is not what enabled the person to save the five, and I agree with him.

    A point that Herg and I have both made is that a clear case of using one as a means to save five occurs in the hypothetical where one person is killed so that their organs can be transferred to five people in dire need of an organ transplant. When this case is compared to the trolley case, it is clear that the death of the one is a means in the transplant case but not in the trolley case.

    I gave two cases of intent: "two birds with one stone," and "the basketball bank shot." Consider the metaphor of passing an electrical current through the shape of the letter "V" and the number "7". We feed current into the bottom vertex and our goal is to get current to the upper left vertex ("P"), as can be seen at <this link>.

    Now Qv is not a means to Pv, but Q7 is a means to P7. Do you see the difference? In the language of one way of expressing double effect, Pv and Qv both follow immediately from Av, but P7 follows Q7 mediately from A7. Because Pv and Qv follow immediately from Av, Qv cannot be a means to Pv.

    Every second I am just sitting there is not another action of sitting in the chair—to continue sitting there is not an action: it is inaction.Bob Ross

    The problem with this analysis is that to discretely decide to continue sitting is an act. It is a decision to omit standing. If someone decides to omit an act then they have acted, by deciding to continue in the course they were already in. But again, I am going to leave this omission vs. commission question for another day.

    I actually have to run, so I am going to post what I have so far and return to this tomorrow. Most of what you say relates to the omission vs. commission question, which I think is better left for later. Still, I will try to revisit anything I have missed in your post. Hopefully what I say here will be enough to go forward.
  • How would you respond to the trolley problem?
    However, I'm not sure that this means that I can agree with you thatHerg

    Sure - I edited up that post after I realized this, but it looks like you began replying before my edit went through.

    I don't believe, even if there were such a thing as moral guilt, that this would make him morally guilty, because I believe his moral responsibility would be to minimise the number of people who are going to be killed, and killing the single person intentionally is unavoidable if he is to do this.Herg

    Sure, I can see that point of view.
  • "Aristotle and Other Platonists:" A Review of the work of Lloyd Gerson
    That fairly points to the limits of my thought experiment.Paine

    Okay, so from the "Aristotle's Metaphysics" thread:

    Before going into the details of what Aristotle said or did not say, I would like to think about Rorty as the poster child for what Gerson militates against. Rorty is baldly "historicist" in his description of the 'end of philosophy'. I agree with Gerson that Rorty is too general and reductive in how the practice is conceived. But is Rorty the best exemplar of what Gerson opposes? I have been questioning the unity imparted by Gerson upon classical texts in previous discussions. The assumed unity of what is being opposed by Gerson needs some consideration.Paine

    From this I am led to believe that you agree with Gerson's larger project, but disagree regarding his specific means. So I am wondering 1) How you would go about opposing this Rorty-esque approach to philosophy, and 2) Whether you think Gerson's "Platonists" were opposing the same sort of thing in their own day?
  • How would you respond to the trolley problem?
    Actually I think Bob is taking the straightforward position that it is always wrong to deliberately kill an innocent person.Herg

    It seems to me that the question at hand asks what it means to deliberately/intentionally/purposefully kill. Although you and I may disagree on a great deal, we do agree that to pull the lever is not to use the death of the one as a means. My claim is that if his death is not intended as a means and it is not intended as an end, then it is not intended, and he has not been intentionally killed.* Bob Ross has his foot in the door insofar as he has admitted that not every effect of an act is intentional, even if it is known that it will occur.

    Good posts, by the way. :up:

    * I think it would be helpful for Ross to understand that if the trolley scenario were changed so that instead of one person there were ten people on the second track, then the doctrine of double effect would not permit switching the trolley to the second track, even though doing so is not necessarily to intentionally kill the ten. One cannot intend to kill, but even when one is not intending to kill it does not follow that their act will be moral.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'
    But then, there are more rigorous, more fundamental ways of grounding truth and meaning than by means of identity and rationality.Joshs

    I don't think so, and I don't think it's a coincidence that your sentence reads like a necessary falsehood. Apart from very odd and idiosyncratic definitions of "rational," something less rational or less plausible is not more robust.
  • "Aristotle and Other Platonists:" A Review of the work of Lloyd Gerson
    Far too often, we seem to read the modern rationalist vs empiricist debate back into Plato and Aristotle, which misses their deep connections.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Very true, just as, in an even more extreme way, many of the Wittgenstenians in these parts assume that if you disagree with them you must be following Russell.

    Interestingly, he points to Ockham and Scotus as the end of the classical metaphysical tradition and the birth of "subject/object" thinking and "problems of knowledge"...Count Timothy von Icarus

    There is probably a complementarity here between Gerson and Perl given the way Gerson will identify those later themes in earlier thinkers (e.g. materialism in the atomists).
  • How would you respond to the trolley problem?
    I think I see a bit of the confusion and mistakes on my end; so let me explicate it more clearly.Bob Ross

    Okay.

    I was originally thinking that: if a person knows A is an (reasonable and probable or certain) implication of B and they intend B; then they intend A. This is not true: an intention is a purposeful course of action; and sometimes the purposeful course of action can have consequences which are not in the purposeful plan (of action) one had.Bob Ross

    First, I don't know how helpful this is given the fact that "intent" and "purpose" are synonyms. Now you've just said all the same things you were saying before, but with the word "purpose" instead of the word "intent." This is apparently only a superficial shift of which word is being used.

    So the principle we now agree on is: <If I intend A and A causes effects P and Q, then I do not necessarily intend Q, even when I know that A causes Q>. (the idea here is that P is clearly intended)

    Now I have claimed that Q is intended when it is the means by which P is achieved, or else when it is willed as an end. For example, when I shoot a "bank" shot in basketball (off the backboard) I intend the ball to ricochet off the backboard into the basket. In this case the ball hitting the backboard is Q and the ball going into the basket is P, and the very fact that Q is a means to P shows that I intend the occurrence of Q. For the second example, if I try to hit two birds with one stone, then I am intending both P and Q (hitting bird 1 and hitting bird 2) as ends. Only in these types of cases do I intend Q.

    You haven't given any explanation of when Q is intended. You just said, "It's not always intended," and then you went on to give your exact same opinions with the word "purpose" instead of "intent." To take your fourth case:

    3. The Pilot Example: I would say the same as the train operator example. The pilot is not intentionally killing the group of people by continuing to fly until the plane naturally crashes because their purposeful action is to try to save lives without committing any immoral acts—their intentions does not include killing people but, rather, their purposeful course of action is to avoid doing immoral acts.

    4. The Car Example: Ditto.
    Bob Ross

    So for the car:

    • A: Swerve right
    • P: Avoid hitting all four people
    • Q: Hit the two people on the right

    Remember that we agreed on the principle, <If I intend A and A causes effects P and Q, then I do not necessarily intend Q, even when I know that A causes Q>. You are claiming that although one does not necessarily intend Q, they do intend Q in this case. But why is that? We have agreed that, "Because they know it will happen," is an insufficient answer.

    Or the trolley:

    1. Standard 1 vs. 5 Trolley Problem: the person who pulls the lever to save the five is purposefully taking a course of action of sacrificing one as a means to save the five. This is immoral.Bob Ross

    • A: Pull lever
    • P: The trolley misses the five people
    • Q: The trolley hits the one person

    Why would one think that the lever-puller is intending or purposing to kill the one person?

    5. The Water Example: I agree that if one has water and has to choose between quenching the thirst of one person or another and they intend to quench one person’s thirst, then they are not intending to deprive the other of water. This is because their purposeful course of action does not include depriving them of water; whereas in my original example, it did.Bob Ross

    • A: Give water to the first person
    • P: The thirst of the first person is quenched
    • Q: The second person is deprived of water

    Now how is this any different from the other scenarios? To merely assert that their purpose/intent does not include Q is to beg the question. If I can not-intend this Q, then why can't I not-intend the other Q's?

    3. The Pilot Example: I would say the same as the train operator example. The pilot is not intentionally killing the group of people by continuing to fly until the plane naturally crashes because their purposeful action is to try to save lives without committing any immoral acts—their intentions does not include killing people but, rather, their purposeful course of action is to avoid doing immoral acts.Bob Ross

    Here you are actually responding to my counterclaim that if the pilot ceases to fly the plane he intentionally kills:

    • A: Cease flying the plane
    • P: Avoid actively killing anyone
    • Q: People will die

    Why isn't the pilot responsible for Q? He knows Q will occur if he stops flying the plane, so on your reasoning it seems that he intends Q.

    I think what is happening here is that you are hoping that the deaths that occur via the pilot's omission are better than the deaths that occur via the pilot's commission, even if more people end up dying on the omission. But Q still occurs on the omission, it does not go away.

    I would also like to add that sometimes knowledge of B implying A and intending B does implicate one in intending A...Bob Ross

    I agree, along with Aquinas.

    I would say that they don’t intend it in different ways, because both have the purposeful course of action of sacrificing one person for the sake of others.Bob Ross

    Again, this is just an assertion. I could do the same thing if I said regarding case 5, "He intends/purposes to sacrifice the second person for the sake of the first person." This is not to reason or explain; it is merely to assert.

    I genuinely believe that the police officer would say you intended to sacrifice the person for the other people; and I am surprised that is controversial to say. If your purposeful course of action is to save the people you are about to run into and you know the only way to do so is to sacrifice someone else, then the full course of action that you are purposefully taking is using one person as a means towards saving the other people. No?Bob Ross

    I suppose we could look up some cases like this to see if they are convicted of murder, if you actually believe they would be so convicted.

    Since they know that pulling the lever necessarily results in killing one person and that this is the only way for them to save the five; then they are intending to sacrifice the one to save the five.Bob Ross

    Herg’s point is that the death of the one is not a means to the saving of the five, and we know this because something could happen where the one frees himself from the track and the five would be saved all the same. This is completely different from the transplant case. In that case if the one frees himself and does not die then the five do die. In one case the bad effect is a means, whereas in the other case it is not.
  • Contemporary Germans and Russians in Social Critique
    - #1 is a chapter in book #2, not a book in itself. When it comes to citations ChatGPT is apt to make errors such as this.
  • What is a "Woman"
    Since the historical basis of the seperate bathrooms was the result of the sexual distinctions and not the gender based distinctions, you cannot allow the gender based women access simply because of the happenstance of their both now using the term "woman."Hanover

    I think it's always been a gender-based social enforcement, even if we used the language of sex.Moliere

    I think the question is not so much, "What have we done in the past?" as it is, "Why have we done it?"

    Why did we make two bathrooms in the first place? That is where the discussion needs to start.

    I think it's always been a gender-based social enforcement, even if we used the language of sex.Moliere

    The common premise here is that, "We now think of gender and sex as different things, therefore we always thought of gender and sex as different things." Hanover says we used to think about them as different things and "man"/"woman" referred to sex, and Moliere says we used to think about them as different things and "man"/"woman" referred to gender. I say we didn't use to think of them as different things. Bathroom labels didn't use to mean sex-but-not-gender or gender-but-not-sex. Actually, they still don't for the vast majority of people.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    Attacking those buildings doesn't really come through as much of a coup d'état attempt by itself, but I might definitely be missing something.jorndoe

    Right, of course.

    Might be more interesting to back-track what participants/organizers did, whether they got together beforehand, where (or from who) their ideas originated or otherwise were reinforced, what their motivations were, ...jorndoe

    Maybe, but it may well lead nowhere. I don't know that it was well-coordinated or thought-out in any sense.
  • "Aristotle and Other Platonists:" A Review of the work of Lloyd Gerson
    - Well Heidegger is tricky, but for starters I would want to say that both Gerson and Heidegger could offer a true lens, even if those two lenses are mutually exclusive. So for example, Heidegger could acknowledge that Gerson has made a real distinction with his Ur-Platonism. Whether he can go on to "share that same view of the world," depends on what it means to take a view of the world. I think Heidegger would say that Gerson's distinction, even if true, is not very important or relevant. Presumably Gerson thinks his lens is better than Heidegger's, and Heidegger would think his lens is better than Gerson's.

    So then I think the question is: How do you call into question the aptness of a lens, short of denying it altogether? This is where I wonder if you are barking up the wrong tree, because the comprehensiveness of Gerson's lens makes it hard for those who agree with him to see a contrasting picture. So long as you are "short of denying it altogether," I don't think this is Gerson's fault. It might be the fault of the person who understands Gerson but does not really understand Heidegger. For that person Gerson wins by default, but also because he has managed to capture the person's interest and motivations in a way that Heidegger has not. Thus you have a legitimately difficult task in disrupting Gerson's thesis, but the way you are going about it with Plotinus and Aristotle seems reasonable to me.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'
    So, I am not convinced we are entitled to say that kind does not exist in nature, I think the evidence points rather to the conclusion that kind does exist in nature, on every level of being.Janus

    I'd say this abductive shift is key in these sorts of arguments. "Which is more rational or plausible? To say that kinds do exist, or to say that they do not exist?"
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    There is an interesting article over at the libertarian outlet, Reason, entitled, "New York Prosecution's Story About Trump Featured Several Logically Impossible Claims."

    It begins:

    Last January, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg summed up his case against Donald Trump this way: "We allege falsi cation of business records to the end of keeping information away from the electorate. It's an election interference case."

    That gloss made no sense, because the records at the center of the case—11 invoices, 11 checks, and 12 ledger entries that allegedly were aimed at disguising a hush-money reimbursement as payment for legal services—were produced after the 2016 presidential election. At that point, Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer, had already paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep her from talking about her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump, and Trump had already been elected. The prosecution's case against Trump, which a jury found persuasive enough to convict him on all 34 counts yesterday, was peppered with temporal puzzles like this one.
    New York Prosecution's Story About Trump Featured Several Logically Impossible Claims

    Do the logicians here think that these sorts of claims are logically possible? :chin:

    I suppose the other question is, "Is it logically possible to talk about Trump logically?" :grin:
  • What is a "Woman"
    Picking this sentence up from a dead (12 month-old) thread:

    It is also not to say we can discriminate on the basis of gender or sex identifcation for malevolent reasons, such as to ostracize, bully, ridicule or harrass.Hanover

    Is this to say, "We can discriminate, just not for malevolent reasons," or is it more true to say, "We shouldn't do things malevolently, including discriminating (malevolently)"?

    The difficulty is that introducing the word "malevolence" is often a move into vacuity given that the word usually has no substantial definition. In other words: what is the moral status of discrimination?

    (Good OP, by the way)
  • Antinatalism Arguments
    I think antinatalism is inherently bound up with Gnosticism. This is because it opposes the natural order, and to oppose the natural order requires appealing to some vantage point outside of the natural order. “You shouldn't procreate because the world is evil, addled by suffering.” But how do we know that the world or nature is evil? Surely nature did not tell us such a thing, nor cognitive faculties formed by nature. So then how would we know that it is evil? As the Gnostic says, it must be knowledge received from some god who is opposed to the god of this world (and the nature of the world it created). So again, antinatalism is theological in the sense that it presupposes nature-transcending knowledge.

    For example, given that Benatar’s argument opposes the natural order, it cannot have been derived from the natural order. So if Benatar really thinks his argument holds good, then he must hold that his own mind and the knowledge it has come to know is super-natural, transcending nature. If we are limited to nature then we cannot contradict nature. Where does such a mind or such knowledge come from, if not from nature? Either the Gnostics are correct and it comes from the true god, or Christians are correct and it comes from demons. Or else it is just hopelessly mistaken and a product of merely human irrationality.
  • Antinatalism Arguments
    No, not really. When you create a fantasy world and that changes the very terms of how existence works, I don't see that as proving anything. What if gravity didn't exist? How would that change ethics? What if time and space could be changed so that we can redo actions? Again, none of this is this world. We can argue facts, but then at least we are arguing what is the case, and not hypotheticals that change how ethics would work because circumstances of the very conditions for ethics have changed.schopenhauer1

    Er, I think antinatalism is dead in the water due to this argument:

    • Procreation is permissible in an all but perfect world
    • Benatar's argument excludes procreation even in an all but perfect world
    • Therefore, Benatar's argument is unsound

    What is your counter supposed to be? "No, because counterfactual analyses aren't allowed"? I would suggest reading about the fallacy of "proving too much." Benatar's argument cannot account for the fact that procreation is obviously permissible in an all but perfect world. Benatar would not allow procreation before removing that pinprick. That's crazy. Benatar is irrationally opposed to life, and he would be irrationally opposed to life even in the best of circumstances. Indeed, his irrational argument opposes life even in the best of circumstances!
  • How would you respond to the trolley problem?
    To be completely honest, I think your line of reasoning entails that one should pull the lever.Bob Ross

    Yes - I’ve changed my mind regarding the trolley case. I now hold that pulling the lever is permissible if the conditions of double effect are being adhered to.

    The reason I am wary of the trolley case is because when a modern mind asks if it is permissible to pull the lever, they are almost certainly asking whether it is permissible to do evil that good may came; they are almost certainly attempting to justify consequentialism. So in this sense I think @Fire Ologist is correct when he says that the problem unduly prescinds from questions of intention. Only if one is not intending to kill the person (and one is not willing their death as a means to the end) can one pull the lever.

    Correct. I am assuming you disagree: the fact they are swerving to avoid other people, although they are still intending to run over other people to save them, seems to be the relevant difference for you that makes it (presumably) morally omissible.Bob Ross

    Okay.

    Yes, if by “he cannot avoid causing deaths” you mean his actions. If he has to either (1) kill 2 innocent people or (2) 4 innocent people; then I agree he should go with 1. But that is not the situation the pilot is in in your hypothetical.Bob Ross

    It seems like he is in that hypothetical. You are positing a significant difference between steering away from a large group of people and killing others as a side-effect, and ceasing to the fly the plane and killing others as a side-effect. When the pilot decides to cease flying the plane he knows the death of innocents will result, and therefore on your definition the advice you give is also intentional killing (i.e. the advice to cease flying the plane).

    I guess. I would say that the duty to fly the aircraft safely is a duty which does not obligate one to commit anything immoral for its own sake; whereas it seems like you may think that it might.Bob Ross

    This is instructive because you speak about "committing an immoral act for its own sake." This is obviously not what is happening any any of the scenarios. Not even someone who does evil for the sake of a good end is committing immorality for its own sake. :chin:

    How? Both situations have a person who knows they have to sacrifice someone to save someone else, and they act upon it. To me that is a sufficient condition to say they intended to do it.Bob Ross

    They don't intend to do it in different ways? Again, on your principles to cease flying the plane is to intentionally kill.

    Much of this comes back to the first sentence of Aquinas' response:

    I answer that, Nothing hinders one act from having two effects, only one of which is intended, while the other is beside the intention. . .Aquinas, ST II-II.64.7: Whether it is lawful to kill a man in self-defense?

    You are denying this principle insofar as you are saying that everything which is foreseen is intended. Or more precisely, every effect which is foreseen to be necessary is intended.

    What is your analysis of intent? What does it mean to intend something?

    I think the difference you are talking about is merely that it seems like the person in the shoulder example is intending to save the pedestrians and the person on the shoulder is just an unfortunate side-effect; whereas the two in the transplant are definitely not a side-effect.Bob Ross

    Right: because in the first case the bad effect is not a means to the good effect, but in the latter case it is. Thus the transplant is not permissible on double effect.

    For example, if I see someone in need of water (as perhaps they are thirsty) (let’s call them the first person) and I see someone else with water (let’s call them the second person) and I walk over to the second person and take their water to give it to the first person, then I am intending to take the water from the second person to give it to the first person even if my self-explicated intention is to get the first person water.Bob Ross

    This is another case where the bad effect is a means to the good effect, and is therefore not permissible on double effect. In order to give the first person water I must steal from the second person. Contrariwise, if there were one drink of water and two persons dying of thirst, I could give it to the first person even though I knew that the second person would die of thirst, because the bad effect (of their dying) is not a means to the good effect (of the other person drinking). The bad effect is not necessary in order to bring about the good effect; it is a side effect.

    You are saying, by analogy here, that if the person is just intending to help the first person in need, and isn’t executing consciously a plan to take it from the second person, that the taking of the water of the second person is merely a side-effect of the intention.Bob Ross

    In order to give the first person water I must obtain water. In order to obtain water in your scenario it must be stolen from the second person. So what is happening is that I am stealing water in order to obtain water in order to give water to a thirsty person. The bad effect is a means to the good effect, and is therefore impermissible. Without the bad effect there would be no water for the thirsty person; just as without their deaths there would be no organs to transplant.

    The difference between the transplant and the shoulder example, is merely that in the former the person is consciously aware that they are using people as a means. The latter example is iffy: someone may realize they have to kill the shoulder person to save the other people and continue anyways (thereby making it a conscious intention of theirs) whereas another person may not realize it and only think to themselves that they are saving the pedestrians.Bob Ross

    Suppose an act has two effects: I press the accelerator and two things happen: my speed accelerates and my fuel is consumed. Do you think Aquinas is right, and it is possible to intend one effect without the other? When I press the accelerator do I intend to accelerate and do I intend to diminish my fuel? And even if so, do I intend them in the same way? Is the word "intend" being used in the same way for both of these effects?

    I am seriously struggling to see how the police officer would not communicate in their report, just based off of your statement to them here, that you intended to kill the guy on the shoulder to avoid hitting the two on the median; and this is essential to your argument that you provide a basis against this.Bob Ross

    I brought up murder because it is obvious that this person would not be convicted of murder. They may be convicted of manslaughter, but not murder. At the very least your analysis doesn't sync with our law system. It follows from this that the police officer would not write that I intended to kill the guy on the shoulder. Police officers and judges accept that side effects exist, and that not everything foreseen is intended.

    So, this just boils down to the hierarchy of moral values. I think that rights are more fundamental than social duties (like flying airplanes, driving buses, etc.): the latter assumes the duty to protect and are birthed out of the former, so the former must be more fundamental.Bob Ross

    But this doesn't answer the question. If I have a duty to not-kill one person, then why don't I have a double duty to not-kill two persons? At stake are two duties.
  • Kant's ethic is protestant
    Makes it unique, but not out of kilter.schopenhauer1

    Here is a logical presentation of the greenlight/prohibition distinction, which I tried to add in an edit but apparently did not get added:

    You are committing the fallacy of denying the antecedent: <If you do X, then you are acting immorally; he did not do X, therefore he is acting morally>, where X = treating another as a mere means. It does not follow that my action is moral or permissible just because it does not treat another as a mere means.
  • Kant's ethic is protestant
    Oh it wouldn't be the first time ;). And it wouldn't surprise me that my memories are off -- I through this in the lounge for that reason. I didn't feel like doing the deep work :D -- but I wanted to think through the ethics a bit.Moliere

    Okay. :up:

    My memory on that claim is that it was with respect to masturbation, which always made me kind of shrug at that claim -- though, yes, that definitely fits with his Christian heritage. It may be here that this is what previously was raising feathers : I can acknowledge the Christian heritage, but at what point are we talking about Kant, the man, and Kant's philosophy, as intended, and Kant's philosophy, as written.

    That was one of his examples I always sort of put to the side as worthless, though I could see the case being made for, say, substance abuse -- I don't think that's respecting yourself as an end (not sure if it would be a universalizable maxim, that one)
    Moliere

    Er, I think it's much more than a one-off. Examples include masturbation, suicide, treatment of animals, and self-mutilation, but the deeper point is that an ends-maker is not necessarily an end in themselves. This is actually a big problem in our culture as far as I'm concerned: autonomy is maximized and dignity (of oneself or others) is minimized. There is no reason why I must treat an ends-maker as an end in themselves, as these are two distinct concepts. I think our motivation to do so has more to do with modern political philosophy than morality or Kant.

    Though respecting someone as an ends-maker wouldn't entail, I don't think, that autonomy makes right or something -- rather, it is right to respect autonomy.Moliere

    Why is it right to respect autonomy?

    Again, if I treat someone as a mere means then I am not respecting their autonomy, but if I fail to respect their autonomy it does not follow that I am treating them as a mere means (or that I am failing to treat them as an end in themselves). Perhaps more crucially, by respecting someone's autonomy it does not follow that I am treating them as an end in themselves. It only follows that I am not using them as a mere means. Libertarian indifference to others is a good example of this sort of thing.

    And that's where it gets hard to really apply the ethic to others. How can you reflect for someone else whether they are following a maxim?Moliere

    By considering the consistency of their actions.

    One thing I don't think the ethic handles well is disparity in power. Kant doesn't really talk about children at all -- are they born with the categories? Do the categories become more apparent as they develop? When are they rational beings?Moliere

    True.
  • "Aristotle and Other Platonists:" A Review of the work of Lloyd Gerson
    The list of negatives is drawn up by his reading of Plato. What comprises what is "firmly rejected in the
    dialogues either explicitly or implicitly", is a matter of contention, especially the "implicit" part.
    Paine

    I think Gerson is on the right track, so I probably see it as less controversial than you do.

    Relegating differences between thinkers as participants in the proposed larger container of agreement to a secondary concern removes any of the testimony of others to be possible challenges to the existence of said container.Paine

    First I would say that Gerson's thesis does not preclude challenges to this thesis. You yourself tend to offer these challenges. Second, to apply a particular lens to philosophical taxonomy does not prevent us from applying other lenses. I don't see Gerson's lens as exclusive.

    The thesis was developed as a response to modern expressions of "anti-Platonism" and modern views of nature. As a philosophy of history, it is claiming that the conditions Plato emerged from are the same as those we live in. This battle between the two Titans seems to take place outside of History, in some kind of eternal now.Paine

    Yes, perhaps.

    The thesis certainly does not help illuminate how Plotinus emerged in his time.Paine

    I don't know a lot about Plotinus, but I suspect you are correct.
  • Aristotle's Metaphysics
    Several conditions pop out immediately from these accounts.
    The experience of a body is different from 'matter as itself' and so belongs within the 'intelligible realm'. That could be expressed, as you said, as "formal principle(s) clearly seen to overpower the material principle(s) but the more consequential difference is that the composition of a particular individual, joining υ̋λη and μορΦή, no longer represents a unity standing as the whole being from which to ascertain its parts.

    I will stop here before saying more.
    Paine

    Okay, I can see your point. There is here a very strong opposition from Plotinus to Aristotle's "hylemorphism."
  • How would you respond to the trolley problem?
    I am going to come back and make a full response when I have more time, but let me respond to this one thing quickly:

    I am seriously struggling to see how the police officer would not communicate in their report, just based off of your statement to them here, that you intended to kill the guy on the shoulder to avoid hitting the two on the median; and this is essential to your argument that you provide a basis against this.

    [...]

    If they know that swerving will most certainly (or as a probabilistic certainty) will kill those two people and they continue with their plan of swerving, then they thereby intend to kill those two people to save the other people. I am tying the sufficient knowledge the person has, to what they intend to do. I think this is pretty standard practice in law.
    Bob Ross

    According to what you say here the driver should be convicted for murder, no? You seem to think he murdered the pedestrian on the shoulder.
  • Kant's ethic is protestant
    And if you say, it is, but they are not merely using someone, how is that not a slippery slope?schopenhauer1

    Because it does not justify acts. Kant is not greenlighting, he is prohibiting. You've missed this point two times now.

    That is to say, to create someone who will suffer unnecessarily is to use them as a means for something other than the person. As the person wasn't even there to begin with.schopenhauer1

    But this is the metabasis, which you appeal to when it suits your argument and ignore when it cuts against it. The fact that "the person wasn't even there to begin with" is what makes the whole antinatalist project so logically out of kilter.

    ---

    That, however, is a far cry from having children at all schopenhauer1 -- I think utilitarianism, and psychological hedonism would be better friends to you than deontology, at least if you want to universalize anti-natalism (I did admit some conditions where I could, and even in my own life I can see, where having children isn't a good choice -- but the universal program is a bit much for me)Moliere

    I agree.

    Seems a bit goofy to me.Moliere

    It is goofy, and @schopenhauer1 is ignoring arguments in the antinatalism thread whilst arguing antinatalism in a thread on Kant. For example, his reasoning results in absurd consequences:

    The problem occurs if this is a valid argument:

    1. Suppose every living human being is guaranteed a pinprick of pain followed by 80 years of pure happiness.
    2. [Insert Benatar's antinatalist argument here]
    3. Therefore, we should never procreate

    Are you starting to see the reductio? The reductio has force because we know that any (2) that can get you from (1) to (3) is faulty argumentation.
    Leontiskos
  • Kant's ethic is protestant
    Nothing super direct comes to mind, other than "treating them as an end unto themselves" and noting how individual freedom is central -- as in a category of reason -- for moral thinking in Kant.

    Since I can choose my ends, I have to recognize that others can do so as well.

    Also, something Rawls points out, deontology is a literal lack of a goal: so to treat someone so that they fulfill a goal would be to violate them.
    Moliere

    Okay, then I am more comfortable in my claim that you are misinterpreting Kant. From my edit:

    For Kant you cannot use someone as a mere means even if they consent to being used as a mere means.Leontiskos

    As far as I recall, Kant follows Christianity in claiming that one can fail to treat oneself as an end in oneself, and this would seem to undo the autonomy thesis. If it were just a matter of autonomy then treating oneself poorly would be impossible.

    -

    The key here is that it is not legitimate to reduce "treat them as an end in themselves" to "treat them as an ends-maker." Those are not the same thing for Kant. The latter does not exhaust the former. Just because we are treating someone as an ends-maker does not mean that we are treating them as an end in themselves. The specific emphasis on autonomy and ends-making comes later, and I would argue that if taken too far is a strong deviation from Kant.

    (Hence, in the arranged marriage, the parents are failing to treat the betrothed as ends-makers, but they are not necessarily failing to treat them as ends in themselves.)
  • "Aristotle and Other Platonists:" A Review of the work of Lloyd Gerson
    One thing that bothers me about the Ur-Platonism idea, apart from the specific issues being discussed, is that there have been centuries of thinkers who have self-identified with belonging or not belonging to particular groups and here comes this bloke telling you where you belong.

    I accept that there is a lot of nuances in how that gets expressed. When Aristotle refers to the 'Platonists', he may be that and something else at the same time.

    It is tyrannical to have them all wearing the same neckerchief.
    Paine

    Sorry, I know I need to respond to your post in the Metaphysics thread, but Gerson is dividing philosophers into two camps. It is legitimate to ask questions about the rationale and rigor of that division, but certainly when Aristotle speaks about "Platonists" and Gerson speaks about "Platonists" they are speaking about two different things. For Aristotle Platonists are one camp among many; for Gerson they are one camp among two. I don't think equivocation is occurring given the way Gerson sets out his thesis.
  • Kant's ethic is protestant
    - Well this is very similar to @schopenhauer1's ideas. I would say that if someone is being treated as a mere means then their autonomy is not being respected; but it does not follow that if someone's autonomy is not being respected then they are being treated as a mere means. Autonomy and consent do not exhaust the notion of "an end in themselves."

    For example, the arranged marriage infringes autonomy but does not necessarily result in the case of a mere means. I assume that Kant's "means to an end" is a means to my (selfish) ends. So if I give someone an apple am I treating them as a means? Well, if they are a slave and the apple is merely meant to nourish them to better serve me, then yes. But if the apple is intended for their own intrinsic good, then no. I don't have to ask them if they desire nourishment before I can legitimately give the apple. As long as I think it will serve them in themselves apart from any motive on my part, it is not treating them as a mere means.

    Even if they would, in fact, be better, we wouldn't be respecting them as end-makers...Moliere

    I have all along been uncomfortable with this language of "respecting them as ends-makers," because this is a reduction of the second formulation to autonomy. Obviously that is part of the second formulation, but I want to say that it is not the entirety of it. If it were entirely a matter of respecting them as ends-makers then I really would have to place their autonomy on a very high pedestal. This would be a rather significant, albeit interesting, deviation from Christianity. Is there textual warrant in Kant that the second formulation should be interpreted this way?

    For Kant you cannot use someone as a mere means even if they consent to being used as a mere means.Leontiskos

    As far as I recall, Kant follows Christianity in claiming that one can fail to treat oneself as an end in oneself, and this would seem to undo the autonomy thesis. If it were just a matter of autonomy then treating oneself poorly would be impossible.
  • Kant's ethic is protestant
    Well, I'd say so, yeah. I don't believe in arranged marriages or pre-destined roles for children, because I believe autonomy is more important than that.Moliere

    But I think we are talking about the second formulation of the Categorical Imperative, not autonomy. I grant that an arranged marriage infringes autonomy.

    Added in an edit:

    The difficulty is that the second formulation pertains to intention, and material acts only rarely have necessarily intentional implications of the kind that Kant is thinking of.Leontiskos
  • Kant's ethic is protestant
    I'd say that this society violates the second formulation while maintaining the first: it's consistent, they continue on, and yet by relegating people before they are born to certain hierarchies -- even though everyone is happy -- it does not respect the humanity of people.Moliere

    If you think it violates the second formulation, then who is being treated as a mere means? I don't quite see it, and I am thinking of the analogous situation of an arranged marriage. If parents arrange a marriage for their child, or if someone pre-selects an infant for a hierarchical role, does it follow that they are being treated as a mere means?

    The difficulty is that the second formulation pertains to intention, and material acts only rarely have necessarily intentional implications of the kind that Kant is thinking of.
  • "Aristotle and Other Platonists:" A Review of the work of Lloyd Gerson
    No. Both Plato and Aristotle write in ways intended to mitigate the problem of writing. Both have a salutary public teaching.Fooloso4

    Well the way you have been wielding Plato's seventh letter makes it seem like Plato can have no public teaching.
  • How would you respond to the trolley problem?
    Let me clarify, as I may have said differently before: the pilot wouldn’t let go of the steering wheel but, rather, would keep flying as best they can to avoid any collisions.Bob Ross

    Does the pilot have "a separate but related duty to cause as few deaths as possible in the event where he cannot avoid causing deaths"? ()

    A duty towards something cannot excuse a person from their other duties. A pilot’s duty to fly cannot excuse them from their duty to not intentionally kill innocent people.Bob Ross

    So I am wondering if they have a second duty at all. If they do then we have a case of what is sometimes called moral perplexity, where two duties come into conflict.

    Maybe I misunderstood, then. Were you positing that I could either (1) continue and run over 4 people or (2) swerve and hit 2 of those 4 instead of all 4? Or were you positing that I could either (1) continue and hit 4 people or (2) swerve and hit 2 separate (to the 4) people?Bob Ross

    I was thinking of the former. Presumably you are saying that the relevant difference between the airplane and car scenarios is that in the car scenario all of the potential victims were initially in the path of the vehicle?

    Correct. The practical one was just an additional FYI; and not an intended answer to your question. The theoretical one is my answer.Bob Ross

    Okay, sounds good.

    See, this is where it gets interesting; because, to me, this is a cop-out: it is a consequentialism-denier coming up with a way to be a consequentialist on some issues.Bob Ross

    Well, the second condition is a consequentialist condition. I admitted that, but it is not a sufficient condition (and that is what we mean by consequentialism tout court).

    If one swerves to the left to hit 2 people to avoid hitting 4, then they have absolutely intended to sacrifice those 2 people to save the 4 and, consequently, used those 2 as a mere means toward a good end. Am I missing something?Bob Ross

    If two people are dying of heart failure and two others are dying of liver failure, and I kill the former two, take their livers, and give the latter two liver transplants, then I have sacrificed two to save two. It's not at all clear that the same thing is happening in the car scenario.

    Indeed, it is not clear that they are a means to an end at all, much less a "mere means." Perhaps when I see people in front of my car on the median I have a rule to swerve into the ditch. My swerving is a means to the end of not-hitting the pedestrians on the median. If someone is on the shoulder, and I hit them, and I knew I was going to hit them, it does not follow that hitting them was a means to avoiding the others. The circumstances here are very different from the transplant case. In the transplant case two literally need to die in order to save the four. How do you differentiate these two cases?

    A police officer might investigate and ask my why I swerved. I might say, "I swerved to hit the guy on the shoulder, because I knew that if I could hit that guy on the shoulder then I would be able to avoid the two on the median." Or else I might say, "I swerved to avoid the two on the median. I didn't want to hit the guy on the shoulder, but I couldn't find a way around him." Are these legitimately different answers?

    This seems to sidestep the issue: to justify this “Double Effect”, you would have to sufficiently demonstrate that swerving to hit 2 people instead of 4 is not an intention to hit those 2 people to save the 4...what say you? Your analysis in the above quote just assumes it is merely an evil effect, without commenting on the intention.Bob Ross

    No, not really. I could turn this around at you and say, "To deny 'Double Effect,' you would have to sufficiently demonstrate that swerving to hit two people instead of four is based on the intention to hit those two people to save the four. What say you?" I am not saying that there is no possible case where someone would act with a bad intention (and Aquinas says this explicitly, if you recall), but rather that a bad intention is not necessary. On the other hand, if double effect is wrong then you would be required to show that the bad intention is necessary.

    The key in these scenarios is that there are two acts (or two sub-acts, depending on how you parse it). The first is the act "to cause the death of innocents," and the second is the "choice over how many innocents die" (). The plane/car will cause the death of innocents no matter what, and therefore the first act is inevitable, and one is not responsible for the inevitable. But the second act is not inevitable: more or less people could die, and here the second duty comes in.

    (Again, I have no idea how I would square my own reasoning with the trolley :lol: )

    The pilot would be without moral fault in both; because one cannot blame a person for not fulfilling their duty to A because the only way to do so would have been to violate a more important duty to B.Bob Ross

    Why is B a more important duty?
  • "Aristotle and Other Platonists:" A Review of the work of Lloyd Gerson
    Are you claiming that Aristotle made public what Plato intended to keep private?Fooloso4

    Are you claiming that Plato did not intend to make anything whatsoever public? That approach succeeds in nixing the OP, but it proves far too much.
  • Fate v. Determinism
    - Yes, interesting points. :up:

    I don't really disagree with any of that, but I think it often gets taken in problematic directions. I have been reading John Deely's book on Heidegger, which has been helping to refresh me on his ideas.

    For me the dangers of Heidegger are similar to the dangers of mysticism (and I don't use that word pejoratively). It constitutes something powerful but unstable and even destabilizing, and therefore it can move in really any direction at all (including, for example, Nazism). Heidegger would no doubt take this as a compliment, but it's not all to the good. I'd say religious or tradition contexts have a better chance at harnessing that mystical nucleus and creating safeguards to its instability. The common person is not well served by that kind of thinking or that level of instability, and therefore there needs to be a complex mechanism of mediation. To take an example: the hermitage is in the monastery, and the monastery is in the unpopulated rural area. The common person lives in the city. They visit the monastery but then go back home. They may never see the hermitage. Both are necessary and there is a symbiotic relationship, but to take the city-dweller and place them in the hermitage for any extended period of time would literally overwhelm them, as would the city for the monk. Heidegger's thought is in many ways eremitical, simultaneously life-giving, dangerous, foreign, and dependent for stabilization (and meaning/contextualization) upon the common life.
  • Fate v. Determinism
    - Right, and for that reason I don't think the explanation presented in your first sentence would even be possible. Given how much we agree on, I think my fart analogy is key.
  • Kant's ethic is protestant
    Am I disrespecting the dignity of the native by asking for directions?schopenhauer1

    You are certainly using them as a means without their consent.

    Again, I am allowing "merely" but if it is not being an excuse to actually violate dignity...schopenhauer1

    Again, the invalidity of your argument lies in confusing a prohibition with an allowance. Kant is saying, "You cannot use others as a mere means." This does not mean, "If you are not using others as a mere means, then whatever you are doing to them must necessarily be okay." It is logically impossible to use the second formulation as an excuse to act. The second formulation prohibits actions, it does not greenlight actions. I think you would see this more easily were not the planet of antinatalism exercising an undue gravitational pull on your thought.

    I mean, Kant himself is highly controversial and I am trying to keep this at the level of Kant. Kant thought that lying is technically wrong no matter what, including about where your friend is when people are out to kill him, so if you think AN is controversial...schopenhauer1

    But Kant's position on lying follows even from the "merely." When you call into question the legitimacy of the "merely" you do not soften the prohibition on lying, you significantly strengthen it. So if you think Kant's position on lying is incorrect, then a position which calls "merely" into question would be all the more incorrect.
  • "Aristotle and Other Platonists:" A Review of the work of Lloyd Gerson
    Your post began by saying that the quote from the Seventh Letter was:Fooloso4

    No, it began by saying that your interpretation of the letter was such.

    How do you understand this if it does not mean what he said in the letter?Fooloso4

    The letter does not say that Plato holds no positions, or that none of his positions are inferable from his texts, or that none of his positions are inferable from Aristotle's texts.

    Of course he could. He was responding to what was said in the dialogues.Fooloso4

    I already addressed this in the parenthetical remark at the end of that paragraph.
  • Kant's ethic is protestant
    I responded that “mere” should not be an excuse to cause harm, by use of it as justification to do so.schopenhauer1

    I don't think Kant, Moliere, or Moliere's Kant hold that "mere" can be an excuse to cause harm. No one holds that position. Your arguments here seem too bent on justifying antinatalism, and for that reason they are deviating from the topic of Kant. If we must remove the "mere" then we cannot buy from the shopkeeper, and that's crazy. The claim that such a purchase is an "excuse to cause harm," is highly implausible, even though an antinatalist might make that argument. At the very least it is an undue imputation of motive. (And if you insist on the idea that the shopkeeper consents, then consider the tourist who asks a native for directions. It's not as though every time we "burden" someone consent is involved.)

    The key problem with your reliance on consent is that it is moot for Kant. For Kant you cannot use someone as a mere means even if they consent to being used as a mere means. Consent is irrelevant to the second formulation of the Categorical Imperative.

    Your argument here is something like, "If Kant's second formulation of the c.i. permits pronatalism, then it is false." The first problem is that this is invalid: even if antinatalism were true there could still be true moral principles that do not prohibit procreation. Not every moral principle will justify every moral conclusion. The second problem is that this is more a dispute over antinatalism than a dispute over Kant. Your argument has no force for anyone who doesn't already agree with you on antinatalism, and antinatalism is a highly controversial thesis. As I said, we already have a thread on antinatalism.