• Ukraine Crisis
    Sure, but my argument is that we navigate it by using a set of rules that's distinct from utilitarianism - we're using the essentially deontic concept of rights and freedoms.Echarmion

    But how do we determine what those rights and freedom ought be? We don't escape the trap of having to have some means of judgement. Our rights and freedoms are not exhaustive, nor are they non-contradictory, so there remains some higher order means of both determining their extents and arbitrating between their contradictions. That is all that is happening here. To simplify to one single issue. The Ukrainians have a right to self determination, the Yemenis have a right to life. Since Ukraine is Yemen's source of food, a war to regain the Ukrainian's right to self-determination is in conflict with the Yemei's right to life. This is just one example among many that occur simply because peoples are not isolated groups.

    One of the essential boundaries, to me, is that whoever is on the defensive - and of course discussing what that means is an entirely different topic - does not need to concern themselves with utilitarian calculations. In principle you may defend yourself à outrance, because it's the attacker who is putting themselves outside the framework.Echarmion

    But that's not the case, unless you suggesting that our laws are all unethical in this regard? Self-defence is not a defence against any action at all, there's still a question of both proportionality and contemporaneousness. For self defence to be a defence in law the act has to be proportionate to the level of threat a reasonable person would understand and has to be relatively contemporaneous with the threat. You can't, for example, go to a muggers house three days later and shoot them because they took your handbag at knifepoint.

    Though we might hate it, the Russians now occupy Crimea and Donbas. To propose war to retrieve them is to commit to an act of extreme violence in order to gain a material possession. The rightfulness of ownership doesn't justify the level of violence.

    What I know about human psychology tells me that humans react very badly to situations where rule-breaking is no adressed effectively, and the result is usually a far less draconian system of punishment.Echarmion

    Yes, but, as I mention below, punishment is just not an appropriate response here. One of the greatest errors of war is the grossly offensive and destructive nationalism and racism that is allowed to develop (encouraged often) because of the propaganda utility of this punishment narrative. Many Russians soldiers are conscripted, as are many Ukrainians. Both are also lied to. It is not possible to determine if they rightfully share the blame for their actions on the battlefield, so battle is not an appropriate punishment, even where punishment were necessary. Wars punish the working class soldiers on both sides. The actual perpetrators tend to get away with barely a dent in their fortunes.

    If we stay in the war scenario, the alternative to an organised military defense by a state might be a protracted insurgency, which decreases the intensity of the fighting but spreads it wider.Echarmion

    Yes. Guerilla warfare, active resistance, protest (violent if necessary). Now we also have tremendous tools in information warfare too, financial instruments, and trade which prior to globalisation would not have been nearly so effective. In all cases the death rates compared to war are whole orders of magnitude lower and the risk to the rest of the world much smaller.

    Humans have an ingrained sense of in-group and out-group, and whenever we perceive an out-group threat the response is extreme - both in terms of violence on the outside, but also in terms of cooperation and compassion on the inside.

    Nationalism causes tons of stupid behaviour, but I don't think this one in particular can be ascribed to nationalism, apart from nationalism defining the in- an out-groups.

    But that's the point. Nationalism is inappropriate as a definition of in-group and out-group. The fact that it hooks into quite fundamental human instincts doesn't render it either inevitable or right. There's no in-group solidarity in Ukraine. The rich screw the poor with utter contempt, same as in any country (and same for the homophobe and the homosexual, the racist and the minority, the misogynist and the woman...). Rallying round the flag is a distraction from the real in-group/out-group fight.

    We have, but there's also long experience that shows that nothing replaces a guy with a rifle on the ground. All the other means more or less require that whoever you're trying to get to change their behaviour cares to still play by your rules. Against someone who simply does not care, that will not work.

    This is also a core lesson when using pacifism as a political strategy. Pacifism can be very effective if you opponent cares about appearances. If they don't though, you're just making it easier for them.

    Do you think Putin is going to run out of men? Or is he going to have to, at the last, take to the battlefield himself? Because absent either of those scenarios, you're still trying to change his behaviour (when he doesn't seem to care). You're not fighting Putin with the apocryphal rifle, you're shooting other people in the hope that their deaths will change Putin's behaviour. How is that any different to freezing trade in his lucrative business activities in the hope that he'll change his mind? In neither case is the violence directed at the person responsible, at the person whose mind needs changing, they are both proxies.

    Research indicates that actual punishment of offenders after the fact is only a minor factor in "keeping the peace". Far more relevant is the probability to get caught in the first place and the sense of having a stake in the system.

    I bring this up to illustrate that even from a purely utilitarian point of view, there is good reason to oppose aggression and make it fail. The best way to avoid war is to demonstrate that wars don't work.

    Very true, but have defence and retaliation satisfied that aim thus far in history? Has a long drawn out war of attrition somehow demonstrated to anyone that wars don't work? Or has it been globalisation, the increase in international trade, disarmament, international fora for negotiation (like the UN), and international law which have done most to demonstrate that wars don't work?

    I agree with your sentiment entirely, but another decade of fighting isn't going to show Putin that wars don't work. Putin's goal was to remove Ukraine as a threat to his power, he can do that by taking it over Belarus-style, or destroying it. Another decade of war isn't going to teach him anything other than that he might as well have set out to destroy it in the first place. Is that really the message we want to send to a nuclear armed country?

    Well in a society with very little coercive power, and no structures for things like prison sentences, it has sometimes been the case that there was either no official punishment at all or exile/ death.Echarmion

    Again, who are we punishing? I don't see Putin being put at risk of either. I see ordinary Russian conscripts being shot at by ordinary Ukrainian conscripts whilst the fucking oligarchs in control of them both still actually trade with each other for profit.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    The example is silly, because it completely ignores the consequences and their probabilities.Jabberwock

    No, because that option is likely to bring about negative consequencesJabberwock

    If the proposed course of action is very unlikely to bring about the least worst option and quite likely to bring about the worst optionJabberwock

    ... The matter about which we disagree is the consequences and their likelihoods, so you can't invoke your judgement of the consequences and likelihoods as arguments, that's begging the question.

    My argument is that because war is so awful, it requires a very strong argument in favour (much stronger than more peaceful options) showing how the consequences will be better and the likelihoods higher.

    You can't counter that by saying that it doesn't have this extra burden because the consequences are better and the likelihoods higher. That's the argument we're talking about the burden of.

    It's like if I said "It's really important that you prove the cup is empty" and you answer "It isn't important because the cup is empty". It's begging the question. I'm sure I can find a Wikipedia article about begging the question if you're having trouble with the concept.

    Given that we do not need to support moral claims in any way, as you say, then there is not much point of discussing them, is there? You recite your moral claims, I recite mine, we are done.Jabberwock

    Who said we don't have to support moral claims? Moral claims are not empirical, they're not supported with facts but with appeal to rational and emotional values like coherence, empathy, consistency...

    Charap very much links negotiations to continued fighting, he specifically writes:

    An effective strategy will require both coercion and diplomacy. One cannot come at the expense of the other.

    I agree that coercion will be required. I disagree with using military offensives for that purpose. I disagree for the moral reasons I've laid out above (I value pacifism higher than I value war's potential as a coercive tool). Since these are matters of value, there's no question of deferring to Charap. Charap is an expert on foreign affairs so we ought defer to him in the matter of which strategies might work. We have no need to defer to him on value judgements. He nowhere says that negotiations will fail without decades of military offensives.

    The differences between countries in the Russian sphere of influence and those outside of it are pretty significant. Therefore, Ukraine should leave the Russian sphere of influence to increase its HFI.Jabberwock

    If it considers that being outside of the Russian sphere of influence is the cause of those increased HFIs, and believes so so strongly that it is willing to risk utter devastation to achieve it. I've shown (by using the US as an example) that merely being outside of Russia's sphere of influence is not a very good predictor of HFI improvements, and I've argued that the devastation of war demands a very high level of confidence in its benefits before committing. There is no such high level of confidence in the theory that Ukraine will gain massive improvements in HFI merely by being outside of Russia's sphere of influence. The causal connection is weak at best.

    You cited Fortna, she disagrees with you, you cited Charap, he disagrees with you.Jabberwock

    Neither author disagrees with me. That's why I cited them. I Fortna in support of the idea that armistice conditions can be strong enough to support long-term ceasefires. She does not disagree with that. I cited Charap in support of the the idea that (a) we are not currently putting enough effort into negotiation, more is needed, and (b) that and armistice could work in this specific case.

    Both experts support both arguments. Fortna is pessimistic about long term peace with Putin. So am I, I expect we will have to see regime change before long-term peace can be achieved. Charap considers it morally acceptable to continue military offensives alongside negotiations on the grounds that they will act as coercive tools. I disagree that this benefit is sufficient to outweigh the cost. Since that is a value judgement, it's irrelevant that Charap disagrees with me on that. I expect Fortna does too.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    The problem I see is that every choice can harm others, even seemingly benign ones, if only in distant and minor ways. This being the case, it would seem to me that a strategy to minimise total harm or likewise maximise total wellbeing would have to result in a total dictatorship where everything is strictly regulated.

    This might seem like a technical and arcane possibility but I think there are real world examples. Take sports, for example. Many sports can cause significant injury. That's fine, you may say, since people willingly participate. But even if we assume that noone gets hurt against their will (which I find unrealistic) it still imposes costs in society. All for the benefit of a minority. Perhaps then we should only allow activities with a certain level of risk.

    Speaking of risk, what about dietary choices? Or when you move where? All possible to optimize for the greater good.

    Absolutely. Yet we navigate this don't we? We don't throw our hands in the air and say "anything goes then". I think you've given a perfect account of why moral decisions are fraught, but that's not the same thing as giving an account of what any moral claim is wrong.

    I think war, in this instance, is not even one of the difficult edge cases. It's absolutely devastating in terms of harms - thousands dead, many more thousands injured, livelihoods destroyed, millions put at risk of starvation, the entire world at risk from nuclear escalation... I can't see anyone reading that list and thinking "well... some people like racing motorbikes though.... so who know what people's idea of harm is...?"

    And are you willing to extend this relativism to, say holocaust denial, rape, murder? I get what you're saying, but without qualification it sounds like special pleading for territorial war.

    How are you going to keep any system in place - pragmatic as it may be - people need the security that it's stable. Otherwise it will quickly be replaced by other arrangements, which are rarely better. One can see this effect in lots of weak states, where more informal systems - often controlled by some kind of patriarchal elite - take over.Echarmion

    This is true, but compared to the costs of keeping the system unchanged the harms are minimal and can be fought against by other means. War is clearly not the only way of changing political systems for the better and it is by far the most devastating.

    But likewise, I'm saying the same of those advocating for a military response. Not considering the consequences on things like global hunger.

    You're saying it's sometimes ok, but you're not stating what the relevant factor is. So someone can take my property. How much of it? Can they hurt me, so long as it's not deadly force?Echarmion

    I don't think these questions are easily answered, but my point is that they are asked and answered nonetheless. We do not merely throw up our hands because we can't decide when lethal force is appropriate against a threat of violence. We work out an approach based on an acceptance that (a) there is a line, and (b) it's not easy to see where it is. The attitude typically taken to military responses to invasion shows none of this, and I think the reason for that is nationalism, not moral nuance.

    The problem I have with this is that it hands all the cards to the aggressor. It this inherently disadvantages the weakest targets. If I'm really strong and scary, I might not need force to dissuade a would-be aggressor. But it I'm facing someone who is stronger, how am I going to defend my rights?

    How is the system going to remain credible if the aggressor is allowed to control the situation? And if you're taking even proportional retaliation off the table, then you're also weakening all other forms of pressure because any aggresor knows they have a monopoly on force.

    A moral philosophy needs a way to address rule breaking. If it only works if everyone always follows it, it's simply not useful for actual humans.

    Yes, but we do not only have military responses at our disposal. We have sanctions, we have non-violent resistance, we have violent (but non-military) resistance, we have control of the media and IT space, we have financial instruments, we have political instruments...

    And as punishments go, what kind of punishment for aggression is military response? It doesn't harm Putin in any way other than indirectly (by making him less popular if he loses). We can punish Putin far more directly then that by freezing his international assets, enabling legal proceedings against him, barring him from travel, refusing to deal with his companies... Him loosing this war is at best an indirect punishment.

    And this is the problem with seeing something like this from this 'zoomed out' perspective. Who is actually, literally being punished by military resistance? The conscript. The Russian soldier who was pretty much forced to serve (or lied to) is the one having his legs blown off by a Ukrainian shell, not Putin.

    The reason we can avoid capital punishment is because, compared to an individual, the state has such overwhelming power that it can simply imprison someone, for life if necessary. But outside of these "civilised" circumstances, deadly force is sometimes the only plausible punishment.Echarmion

    I don't see any such circumstances arising. I can see how deadly force is often the only 'defence', but not really seeing how it's ever the only 'punishment'.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Presenting half of his plan, while ignoring the other half (i.e. the coercion) is somewhat disingenious. If I wrote 'Charap's plan is to keep fighting!', you would most likely object.Jabberwock

    Yes, I would. You are continuing to ignore the asymmetry of a burden of proof. If I said "we need to jump off that cliff, I know it's a long way down and we'll probably break both legs, but I really think we need to", and you said "no, we can just take the steps", we do not have an equal burden of proof to show our courses of action are necessary. I have a much higher burden because we really, really don't want to jump off the cliff. We don't really care if we walk down the steps, so showing we need to is no big deal.

    I'm proposing we don't fight a devastating war, we just leave Russia where they are and negotiate a ceasefire. That's the option any non-psychopath would want anyway if it were possible, so merely showing it could be should be enough to advocate the option. Charap's partial argument does that. He didn't link negotiations to continued fighting, ha hasn't made the argument that an armistice will only work if we also continue fighting, he's just saying that (a) we can, and (b) we ought. I agree with (a), but disagree with (b) because I don't share Charap's view on the sanctity of territory.

    If, however, you were arguing that Charap said we ought continue fighting, I'd dispute that because to make an argument for war you need more than a mere preponderance of evidence, you need a very strong case that it is, regretfully, absolutely necessary.

    Sure, but do not surprised that others will simply ignore your 'oughts', given they have exactly as strong grounds for their moral claims as you do.Jabberwock

    I would be very surprised if, on a philosophy forum, people simply ignored my 'oughts'. If we cannot discuss moral claims, then what is left to us - we just fight it out?

    the opponents of the aid were outvoted 70-358. Sure, it is a significant opposition, but it still makes cutting help to zero unlikely.

    And the poll from half a year ago... I can whip up a few as well:

    The point is that political opinions change over time. Germany is currently facing a new problem from the rise of the right wing, who are also opposed to arms sales - for their own political reasons. The US went from Obama to Trump overnight.

    I am surprised though that you do not care that the HFI of those occupied will be much lower than those who are not.Jabberwock

    Part of my argument is exactly the opposite. The differences really aren't that great, especially in the occupied regions. Russia's record in Crimea wasn't very different from Ukraine's record in Donbas. I don't doubt for a minute that conditions will worsen and progress toward freedom will be set back, but likewise with another decade of war.

    There aren't any good options, we're picking the least worst, so merely pointing out how awful one option is doesn't really make an argument, you need to compare them. Seeing as the war currently involves conscription, imprisonment, restrictions of movement, the banning of political opposition, the banning of opposition media, the deaths to thousands of young men and women, the destruction of vital services, the disruption of livelihoods and the deeper indebtedness to institutions which have a history of restricting economic freedom and worsening inequality, not to mention the risks of starvation in other countries, and the risk of nuclear war... you have an awful lot of 'bad' to stack up against.
  • Masculinity
    Hot damn did we manage to understand one another?Moliere

    We so did!

    There should be some kind of prize, no?
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I think this needs to be qualified though by allowing people to choose what they consider well-being. This might involve making the whole world worse off.Echarmion

    The first part I get, the second not so much. If what some people choose to consider well-being harms others, then I don't see why we wouldn't have quite reasonable justification to prevent that. After all, if harming others isn't sufficient justification to prevent an act, then we're stuck for much moral intervention at all, aren't we?

    or better or worse, sovereign states are the building blocks of them current international order and the people living in the quite evidently do care. They're willing to die for it, apparently.

    Of course the quality of an argument counts, not whether people accept it, but that's only half the issue. Must not people have the last word when it comes to what they regard as harm and how severe they consider is?

    Again, I agree with the first half, but not the second. For the reasons given above. It what some group of people regard as harm (or easier to express this as non-harm - desirable goals) actually harms others, or puts them at risk of harm, then we do have grounds to proscribe that behaviour or else we have no grounds to proscribe any behaviour at all.

    If we accept that people have such a freedom, then this means there must be a set of rules that's not concerned with minimising harm but instead with creating some rule-based order that creates spheres of freedom. And those who put themselves out of this order must then be opposed, violently if necessary.

    Thus I don't think it's actually clear that a status quo ceasefire is preferable to continued fighting from a moral perspective. There are moral costs to accepting the results of aggression.

    So yes, for better or worse, democratic units (countries, electoral wards, etc) are how we tell what it is the people want. But these units are mere pragmatic administrative divisions. In an ideal world we'd all vote on how the entire world was run in decreasing degrees dependant on our stake, but since such an arrangement is technically impossible, we have a system of wards/counties/countries/UN. But since this is merely pragmatic, we don't need to defend any one arrangement with any kind of vigour. It's annoying at most for someone to come along and re-arrange an otherwise perfectly functioning arrangement. It's definitely not worth thousands of lives just to put it back again.

    This cuts to what you say later that...

    I would find a moral philosophy that doesn't include the right to self defense somewhat absurd though.Echarmion

    I agree, to a point, but this isn't direct self-defence is it? Russia didn't come in and just start shooting people. It came in with the intention to steal land. So it's land-defence, not self-defence. If I attack you, you're clearly entitled to defend yourself, even violently. But if I merely threaten you, say with a gun, to steal your car, you're not entitled to just shoot me. It might be held proportionate in some specific circumstances, but most likely wouldn't.

    Likewise, and more like the situation we have with war, if a band of thieves broke into a car showroom, shot everyone in cold blood and stole a car, the police are not morally entitled to raid the thieves' hideout, shoot everyone in cold blood and retrieve the car. The fact that the car rightfully belongs to the owner doesn't somehow entitle the police to use the same methods to retrieve it as the thieves used used to obtain it. We expect better of them, we expect them to attempt to arrest the thieves and retrieve the car that way - even though that makes their job harder and the retrieval of the car more likely to fail. We treat human life as having a higher sanctity that property.

    I don't see any moral argument as to why the same should not be applied to a government's territory. If another country comes and steals it using military force, they are not entitled to use the same lethal force to retrieve it just because it's rightfully theirs.

    If anything, I think they have less right because at least the car owner can claim the lack of car impedes on their autonomy (they presumably had plans in mind which entailed possession of a car). The government have no such claim, they are merely landlords (custodians perhaps) and have no autonomous plans involving the land. The people who actually use the land are still there using it, they just pay taxes to a different custodian.

    So no, I don't really see any justification for force applied to retrieving territory above the proposition that it actually causes less harm than not doing so would. And as I've shown in the case of Ukraine. Russia's worse record on human rights, awful though it is, is simply nowhere near the devastation of war.

    As for 'punishment'. Again, capital punishment is banned in most civilised countries. We do not generally consider like for like punishment to be morally acceptable. So yes, aggressors should not be allowed to get away with aggression, but like any civilised country would not seek to simply kill a murderer, a civilised society should not seek to simply 'invade back' an aggressor who has taken territory by force. we should rise above that and apply more civilised punishments.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    If we provide aid and support to country not burdened by such a history, they might very well do better than we do.Srap Tasmaner

    Fair point. Plus I suppose that could be extended to any free use of money. To the extent that the US leaves any wriggle room at all in it's loan agreements, a country using that leeway to be more socialist might be the best of both worlds... But... Surely those chickens would have to come home to roost at some point.

    Also the US is still getting worse on most measures, so historical burdens can only get you so far as an excuse.... Sorry.

    (But look at the UK for consolation - almost identically as bad. What are we like...)
  • Masculinity
    my thought is that the propaganda machine selected for the most controversial issue on the basis of engagement -- and it just happened to be the one.Moliere

    I agree, but where we perhaps get our different assessments from is in the extent to which the movements (and their accompanying agendas, and small 'p' philosophies) pre-existed that propaganda.

    I generally, as will have become very clear by now, look at most behaviour through the lens of social dynamics, and that tends to mean that the propaganda-created tribes are already part of the social narrative that those involved then have to work with (the now infamous 'public shelf').

    So I suppose where you might see a relatively integral and authentic movement with a sort of media circus mis-portraying it for cynical gain, I see a movement manipulated and altered by the social impact of that media circus such that there's never very much left of the original by the time it's finished with it.
  • Chaos Magic
    I wondered how we would be able to talk about the 'behavior' of things like signposts, and I'm sure we could come up with something, but it could also be that we inevitably face problems with artifacts like this.Srap Tasmaner

    Perhaps one of the problems with the analogy, yes. Humans are, of course, not mere repositories of information which we pass on either faithfully or not, and so unlike the signpost, we're more interested in the other person's intent than we are in the data they have.

    And this is the problem with this whole 'truth' nonsense. It's already subsumed into the social interaction it is trying to take the 'God's eye view' of. Those advocating it already have a view of, not only what the truth is in certain key matters, but, more importantly, how is is arrived at and tested. So advocacy for 'truthfulness' is not philosophical advocacy for a modus of discourse, it's political advocacy for a method, and more insidiously, a set of authorised institutions.

    Talk of 'mis/dis-information' invariably has nothing to do with post hoc checks (the only way to assess the truthiness of a claim, but rather are just political claims about which institutions ought have authority over what.

    Not that I'm in disagreement with all such claims, I just dislike the dishonesty in pretending they're something they're not.

    The signpost is better treated as the source than the messenger here. A demand for 'truthsaying' disguises itself as talk about the utility of signposts, but is in reality always talk about the authority of that exact signpost to back claims about the location of the village in question.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I gave you the plan from the expert, so you are in the boat of unspecificed operating plans alone.Jabberwock


    Squaring this circle will be challenging and politically fraught. One potential model is the U.S.-Israel 1975 memorandum of understanding, which was one of the key preconditions for Israel to agree to peace with Egypt. The document states that in light of the “long-standing U.S. commitment to the survival and security of Israel, the United States Government will view with particular gravity threats to Israel’s security or sovereignty by a world power.” It goes on to say that in the event of such a threat, the U.S. government will consult with Israel “with respect to what support, diplomatic or otherwise, or assistance it can lend to Israel in accordance with its constitutional practices.” The document also explicitly promises “remedial action by the United States” if Egypt violates the cease-fire. This is not an explicit commitment to treat an attack on Israel as an attack on the United States, but it comes close.

    A similar assurance to Ukraine would give Kyiv an enhanced sense of security, encourage private-sector investment in Ukraine’s economy, and enhance deterrence of future Russian aggression. Whereas today Moscow knows for sure that the United States will not intervene militarily if it attacks Ukraine, this kind of statement would make the Kremlin think more than twice—but it would not raise the prospect of new U.S. bases on Russia’s borders. Of course, Washington would need confidence in the durability of the cease-fire so that the probability of the commitment being tested would remain low. Avoiding war with Russia should remain a priority.

    When the time comes, Ukraine will need other incentives such as reconstruction aid, measures of accountability for Russia, and sustained military assistance in peacetime to help Kyiv create a credible deterrent. In addition, the United States and its allies should supplement the coercive pressure being applied to Russia with efforts to make peace a more attractive option, such as conditional sanctions relief—with snapback clauses for noncompliance—that could prompt compromise. The West should also be open to a dialogue on broader European security issues so as to minimize the chance of a similar crisis with Russia breaking out in the future.

    The first step toward making this vision a reality over the coming months is to stand up an effort in the U.S. government to develop the diplomatic track. An entire new U.S. military command element, the Security Assistance Group–Ukraine, has been devoted to the aid and training mission, which is led by a three-star general with a staff of 300. Yet there is not a single official in the U.S. government whose full-time job is conflict diplomacy. Biden should appoint one, perhaps a special presidential envoy who can engage beyond ministries of foreign affairs, which have been sidelined in this crisis in nearly all relevant capitals. Next, the United States should begin informal discussions with Ukraine and among allies in the G-7 and NATO about the endgame.

    In parallel, the United States should consider establishing a regular channel of communication regarding the war that includes Ukraine, U.S. allies, and Russia. This channel would not initially be aimed at achieving a cease-fire. Instead, it would allow participants to interact continually, instead of in one-off encounters, akin to the contact group model used during the Balkan wars, when an informal grouping of representatives from key states and international institutions met regularly. Such discussions should begin out of the public eye, as did initial U.S. contacts with Iran on the nuclear deal, signed in 2015.

    ... But as I said, I don't think it's relevant at this stage. If you're at the point of assuming there is no such plan, then my providing evidence of one is irrelevant. Anyone with even a passing interest in this conflict would have come across arguments like Charap's so your rhetorical demands for the details show either an incredibly well-structured set of media-blinkers (that somehow you've managed to get through the last year without even accidentally reading any opposing views), or a really odd arguing style in which you think that perhaps if I don't know what the arguments are, that somehow... works as a mark against them?

    You also seem to believe that it is an imperative that everyone felt like you, but again, it is just you.Jabberwock

    I don't know if you've much experience with moral claims, but that's pretty much the modus operandi. Moral claims are about how we ought behave, their whole purpose is that others are also bound by them, otherwise they're not moral claims, they're merely statements of preference.

    Your insistence that the majority abandons their moral view (which, as you say, does not need backing up), is a bit unrealistic, though.Jabberwock

    As above, it wouldn't be a moral claim if it was in the form "I prefer X, but you guys do as you please"

    And yes, the aid may be cut to zero and the Russian economy may collapse overnight. Both options are possible, but unlikely.Jabberwock

    Really? Then what was this... ?

    Or ?

    Germany's initial cause for hesitation hasn't suddenly disappeared...

    In what way does this add up to "unlikely"?

    I am very sorry then, what do you propose? Because it is extremely hard to extract that small bit of information out of you. Repeating 'negotiations' is not very helpful, for the reasons given by Fortna.

    Recently you have quoted Charap, so it seemed like you endorse his plan. Do you? Do you advocate solid support for the Ukrainian offensive along starting the negotiations? Do you believe that coercion should be as strong as diplomacy? I was under impression that you do not, but I do not want to misinterpret you again.

    I thought I'd been clear. In line with people like Charap, and numerous others, I'm in favour of a much stronger effort toward negotiated solutions than we're currently seeing to end the immediate fighting. I'm also (unlike Charap, I expect), opposed to nationalism so I'm less concerned about territorial occupation. Russia were manifestly wrong to forcibly take control of the Eastern territories, Ukraine are equally manifestly wrong to do so as well. What is wrong is using military force to take control of territory, who 'owned' it is the first place does nothing to mitigate that wrong unless one can very strongly demonstrate that the humanitarian benefit of changing ownership will outweigh the harms from the war required to do so. Here they do not.

    As to the "lasting peace with Putin" claim. I don't propose lasting peace with Putin. I support lasting peace. Full stop. I don't see much of a way in which that can happen with Putin as leader of Russia (I don't see much of a way that can happen with Zelensky as leader of Ukraine either).
  • Chaos Magic
    (Btw, there's a game-theory based argument for truthfulness and trust in David Lewis's Convention, the details of which are not leaping to mind.)Srap Tasmaner

    Is that the conformity to regularity stuff? If so, it's crossed my path on social conformity issues - I'd like to claim this as proof that psychologists do listen to philosophers sometimes, but that would require that I clearly recall any of it... yet I don't.

    mistaken guy can be expected to act on his mistaken belief, but deceitful guy we would expect to act on his genuine belief.Srap Tasmaner

    I think that's good. I was also reminded of what you said over in the Ukraine thread about agency. The deceitful person is taking agency away from us by attempting to supplant our intention to get to the train station with his intention to send us awry. The mistaken person has no affect on our agency, only our ability (in that we now lack the data we need). As such we don't quite mind the mistake so much since they're not now appearing as risk to the otherwise carefully crafted plot to our story.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I guess it's because your approach didn't suggest an ethical statement to me.Echarmion

    Well, that explains a lot. For my part, all the arguments I've made here have been ethical. I'm simply saying we have an ethical duty to support the options which most promote human well-being.

    it still suggests that the current russian leadership has decided they're in this for the long game. That means the kind of short term freezing of the conflict with intent to then negotiate a long term solution once cooler heads prevail is unlikely to work.Echarmion

    Indeed. I think most are hoping for different heads rather than merely cooler versions of the same ones. Armistice whilst that change takes place is simply a more humanitarian option that simmering war whilst that change takes place. Either solution requires a change in leadership (or a force of hand if not a direct replacement). The question is how we handle the interim.

    Some seem to think that the slightly increased chance of leadership change resulting from war (maybe battlefield losses, or mass morale failure) are worth the enormous casualty rate, destruction and risk of escalation. I'm saying those harms massively outweigh any slight increase in the chance of regime change. Armistice and political pressure is perhaps slower and has a lower chance of success, but is by far the more humanitarian option and should only be discarded if it absolutely fails (I'd even go as far as saying repeatedly fails), or causes more material harm.

    I'm not sure what evidence you're expecting to see pointing towards negotiations.Echarmion

    I'm not so much here criticising the powers involved, though I would do that, but the lay voices clamouring for more war, repeating the clarion calls in favour of it (Russia are weak, Ukraine are going to win any minute, Ukrainians are all brave freedom fighters and deserve everything we can give them... etc). Political leaders might pay only scant attention to their populace, but the least we can do is clamour for peace, not war.

    This kinda suggests you're expecting Ukraine or it's allies to pre-emptively concede territory before negotiations have actually begun, or to publicly set limits to further support.

    That sounds pretty naive to me. We're talking about two parties who are involved in a full scale war to assert their interests. And Ukraine's partners not only have to consider the immediate material impact of a peace deal but also it's psychological impact on geopolitics. To put it bluntly, the West cannot afford to be seen as an unreliable ally.

    I don't think the West are quite so constrained as that. A few European leaders have been quite blunt recently about not simply giving Ukraine whatever they want, and have in some cases rebuked Zelensky quite severely.

    The West also has to consider the risks of escalation, the costs to domestic politics, the continuing harms to trade and finance... They've more accounts to balance than simply being allies.

    Negotiations are going to be conducted via secret backchannels. They're going to be publicly disavowed. This is necessary both to preserve your leverage as well as to safe face in the international arena.Echarmion

    Yes, We'll obviously never be quite sure how much is being negotiated, but both parties have electorates and polities to satisfy who may well not be placated by the mere hint that something might be going on.

    I disagree with your assessment of the separatist movement. It would have fizzled out and been quashed within months had not the russian military directly intervened.Echarmion

    Sure. I don't think that makes it less of a separatist issue. Less would hold the DPR to be a mere happy coincidence to Putin's imperialism. Separatism has been around in the region since the early 20th century so it would be odd indeed if it just so happened to be about to 'fizzle out' just as Russia were about to take advantage of it.

    Gaining powerful allies doesn't make separatism less separatism, though I suspect most are now bitterly regretting their choice of ally.

    It's also a very different situation in that Russia has started a fully fledged invasion in order to destroy Ukraine as it currently exist and absorb most of it's territory. That's old school imperialism.Echarmion

    If we could be sure of that, then yes, but I don't think that's clear at all. I'm sure you're aware of the evidence and counter-evidence, I won't rehash it unless needed, but clearly there are schools of opinion which dissent from the preferred narrative about Putin's original intentions. I think his intention now is far less disputed, however. He clearly intends to destroy Ukraine.

    What is clear though, is whatever could be said of Putin's intentions some months into the invasion, it was not thought so clearly at the start, yet the intention to arm and push Ukraine, if necessary, became policy quickly. I think even if it were true now that we know Putin's true intent is imperialist aggression, we still acted excessively hawkish when we did not know that.

    The west has every reason to defend it's "empire" by supporting Ukraine which is, after all, in this by their choice and for their own interests.Echarmion

    'Reason' I agree. But as I said, I'm here making an ethical argument. Putin had every reason to invade Ukraine. It was just morally wrong to do so.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    The ongoing grain thing ...jorndoe

    Though Africa has benefited from the deal indirectly by stabilizing global supply and prices, they have not been the ones to benefit directly. While only 12% of the grain has reached Africa, 40% went to Western Europe, according to the World Food Program. The biggest recipients of Ukraine’s grains have been China, Spain, Turkey, Italy and The Netherlands. 80% of the grain has gone to upper-middle and high income countries, with 44% going to high income countries, while only 2.5% has made its way to low-income countries, according to the most recent UN data.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    As we have seen, there are factors which barely change the indicator (like rising authoritarian rule in Russia)Jabberwock

    Third time lucky... Authoritarian rule is an indicator, not a factor affecting indicators. The HFI attempts to include in its measure degrees of authoritarianism, it is therefore already included in any comparison. Things like the actions of predatory monopolies like Black Rock (or Halliburton in Iraq), are not measures already included in the HFI, so we have to speculate on the effect they might have had. If you still don't get it this time, it's probably best we just drop this.

    You mean he is biased? Of course he is. Does that mean that he makes wild speculations? Rather unlikely, it would be rather damaging to his reputation if he made military predictions completely divorced from reality.Jabberwock

    Yes. The same applies to Sachs, but it didn't stop you attempting to downplay the relevance of his statements with this accusation of bias.

    And since when ha making predictions divorced from reality hampered the career of retired military advisor. Have you looked at the track record of the current crop of ex-military advisors? accuracy isn't an issue. Cushy jobs consulting for arms dealers and government agencies are far more important and those are not gained by accuracy, they're gained by loyalty.

    No, we choose war when other options are unlikely to bring lasting peace and bear negative consequences.Jabberwock

    Well then we've reached the limit of our disagreement. I think it is inhumanely monstrous to simply 'choose' war as if it were an equal option to peace dependant only on the chances of success.

    which of your experts you mentioned said that all options must be spent, no matter how likely or with what consequences?Jabberwock

    None. That is a moral claim and as such requires no expertise to back it up. It is intended to appeal to your moral sense. It clearly failed.

    Comparing the economies is important to show the scale - even if the West cuts its assistance by half, it will still be a significant burden on Russia which it will be unlikely to meet.Jabberwock

    So you claim, but without evidence. You've yet to supply anything with relative amounts. Sure, if the West cuts aid in half it will still be enough. But are they going to cut aid in half? or third? or quarter? There's significant calls in America to cut it to zero, likewise Germany.

    She writes that achieving lasting peace with Putin through negotiations is very unlikely, which is the very thing you propose.Jabberwock

    I don't propose lasting peace with Putin. I've asked you time and again for a very simple and very reasonable request that you cite what I have claimed in your post rather than make up what you think I've claimed. It's really the bare minimum of decent honest debate that you argue against the claims I've made. I simply will not answer again to claims I've not made. there is a quote function, it's not hard to use.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Who is the "we" here? Are you talking about what conditions for support the US or EU population might find acceptable?Echarmion

    Odd, that's the second time in the last few days someone has picked me up on that particular usage, perhaps an American vs English thing? Using 'we' this way is just the same as saying 'one' only slightly less formal - it's just a generic 'everybody'. I'm making an ethical claim. Read it as 'one ought...' Did your mother never say "we don't drop litter", or somesuch?

    He's attacked Ukraine once so far. Not much to go on. — Isaac

    Three times. He attacked Crimea in early 2014. Then in late 2014 regular russian forces crossed the border and attacked AFU formations in the Donbas as they were about to mop up the separatists there.

    Russia has repeatedly attacked across the border into Donbas whenever the situation of the separatists seemed endangered, so we could run the tally higher if we wanted to.

    We could. The context was in the breaking of peace agreements, so support for separatists didn't seem to fit. The conclusion is the same either way. If the fact that a nation has previous attacked another were held as reasons not to negotiate with them we'd be in an almost permanent state of war. So if Russia were some kind of serial attacker, we might have something to go on, but their history of attacks in Eastern Ukraine is little more than to restate that there is a dispute over that territory.

    Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the strategic situation realises that neither side can achieve a decisive victory that would enable them to dictate peace terms.

    Which obviously means that the parties involved need to continuously evaluate how they could end the conflict. I'm sure this is already happening all the time, though obviously behind closed doors.

    But again this is merely the basic understanding of the situation. It does not include any actionable suggestions. It doesn't even really offer any useful framework to develop such a plan.

    The crux of the issue is not that people don't want to negotiate. The crux is that both sides have vital interests in play which they are unable to align, and thus the outcome is continued fighting. As a rule, humans are willing to accept a lot of suffering to defend their interests. Pointing out the suffering won't help.

    You're making the same assumption @Jabberwock makes with...

    Yes, he suggests that the diplomatic channel should be opened now. But he is saying that it should be done in parallel with supplementing the counteroffensive, which is the opposite of what you suggest:Jabberwock

    ... that there's a binary choice. What I'm advocating, what Charap is saying is not that some switch needs to be flicked to 'turn on' negotiations and 'turn off' war, but that the emphasis is currently in the wrong place. Negotiations are under-supported, and war is over-encouraged.

    What I'm standing against in this thread is the utter rejection of anything remotely misaligned with the mainstream view that Ukraine should be wholly supported in any effort it chooses to do, which currently is full scale war to reclaim all of it's territories. I think that's naive and shows a callous disregard for those others affected. The framing of brave democracy-loving freedom fighters fending off evil authoritarian imperialists is absurd (with the exception of the evil authoritarian bit - that's about right). It's a regional conflict over disputed territory because of separatism, the same kind of separatism which elsewhere has lead to independence, and a general siding with the separatists in the liberal West. Either way, the West's involvement has been almost universally, in such cases, to broker peace, not to take sides (at least the public portrayal has been such). So supplying arms to one side, which in most countries constitutes a war crime, whilst barely moving on talks, even shutting them down at time, is a change in emphasis which is unwarranted by the circumstances.
  • Chaos Magic
    I am not asking for more. But I do point out that that option that we do have, that you outline, is a moral imperative arising from the social nature of language, that it is shared. As we are seeing, a medium that is filled with too much dishonest communication, like the boy who cried wolf, ceases to communicate at all - and this has implications for freedom of speech - that the freedom to speak honestly the truth as best one can, should absolutely be defended, but the freedom to lie, deceive and mislead should be curtailed as strongly as possible while allowing for our fallibility and stupidity.unenlightened

    But none of this seems related to your signposts example. The utility of a signpost is not its honest intention to point you in the direction of it's named location, it's whether it actually does. A 'dishonest' sign post which just so happens to point the right way anyway (dishonest and stupid) is more useful than an honest one which points the wrong way out of error.

    So I'm not seeing how honesty is serving the purpose you've assigned it (making communication functional). If I ask you where the train station is, I'm far less interested in your honesty than I am in where the actual train station actually is. I want you to be right, not honest.

    Or, to put it in the terms you and @Srap Tasmaner were discussing, in what way would an honest (but massively deluded) Trump be better than a dishonest one? If Trump incited Jan 6 because he was insane enough to actually believe there was a conspiracy against him, would the end result have been different to the world where he knows there isn't, but lied about it?

    It seems either way there's an insurrection and a group of people who now have less faith in the democratic system.

    Would dishonesty over delusion have made a difference?
  • Buy, Borrow, Die
    nah, we = votersjorndoe

    If @Mikie had the ear of {all voters} then there wouldn't even be a problem in the first place. He's talking to those who agree there's a problem - what can 'we' do about it. Those who don't agree obviously aren't going to do any of those things are they, know...they don't agree.

    Telling people who don't agree there's a problem what steps they can take to solve the problem seems more than a little daft.

    So no. The only question to consider is what those of us who agree there's a problem can do about it, and if we're outnumbered by those who don't agree there's a problem, then voting is pointless, we already know we're going to lose, there's nothing to be gained by giving the returning officer a more accurate picture of the scale of that loss.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Now they have high HFIs, then so will Ukraine, as your argument went.Jabberwock

    I'm comparing Ukraine and Russia in similar global economic and political circumstances (both ten years ago and both now). You're comparing completely different circumstances (the collapse of communism and rise of Europe). The world has changed fundamentally since then, the rise of globalism, the take over of the financial industry, the move from national government control to multinational companies... We're in a different world. And figures from 30 years ago are not necessary. We have modern day examples.

    How about Ben Hodges, ex-commanding general of the US forces in Europe? Is he expert enough for you or Is he also making wild speculations?Jabberwock

    You mean the Ben Hodges who held the chair at CEPA, funded by the arms industry? The guy who has, throughout his advisory career advocated a stronger NATO and has politically endorsed Joe Biden? That Ben Hodges?

    Funny how when Sachs was mentioned you spent several pages on how unreliable he was as a source because of his political leanings and history of advocacy for a particular policy...

    But sure, he'll do.

    So where does he say that negative assessments of Ukraine's chances are all nonsense? Because, as seems to be stubbornly difficult to get across, we hate war. We choose war as a last resort, when all.other options are spent. So to support war you have to show all other options are spent. Your experts need to show, not just the.possibility that Ukraine might win, but the near impossibility that they would lose. They need to show, not just the possibility that Ukraine could outgun Russia in the long run, but the near impossibility that they would not...

    You're not accepting, not even addressing, the asymmetry here. We don't want war. It's horrific. It needs a very strong argument in favour of it.

    We do not go to war on a preponderance of evidence in favour.

    Well then. If they fail, how will the West sustain the expenditure reliant on them? — Isaac

    It will not. Which economies are more likely to fail: those of the West, which carry a relatively small economic burden and are not hindered by dozens of sanctions or the Russian one?

    Russia. But Russia will spend as much of it's income as it possibly can on the military first and has a single objective - Ukraine. The West has a million other objectives, and political opponents opposed to spending anything at all on Ukraine. So it will take a collapse for Russia to stop spending, a mere dip into deeper recession will be enough to cause the West to question its commitment.

    Comparing the economies alone is ridiculous. As if spending were merely an accounting issue and not a political one.

    How many times Putin has to attack Ukraine for you to consider that his promises of peace are not actually worth much?Jabberwock

    He's attacked Ukraine once so far. Not much to go on.

    I have already given you one: Fortna says achieving lasting peace with Putin is non-viable.Jabberwock

    She doesn't. She's pessimistic about the chances, but that's only relevant to this discussion if she were more optimistic about the chances of a long war bringing about peace and she isn't.

    To use Fortna to support your argument you'd have to select out her opinion on negotiations and ignore her opinion on war.

    I did not say ALL of my points. I just meant those where I have pointed out that negotiating agreement with Putin is unlikely to bring lasting peace.Jabberwock

    Exactly. But we can agree on the low chances of negotiation succeeding. Where we disagree is that war has a higher chance (and enough higher to justify the massive costs). Fortna is equally pessimistic on that matter.

    No, my claim is that it cannot increase faster than Russia's — Isaac

    Your own source (the Economist) claims that Russia's military will decrease.

    And? Is Ukraine going to store up all the weapons it gets and not use them then?

    Ukraine would be on near-total economic and military life support from the West, which will eventually cause budgetary challenges for Western countries and readiness problems for their militaries.

    Note 'eventually'. On the other hand Russia is facing 'budgetary challenges' right now.

    You're reaching. If your argument hangs on the use of 'eventually' you're really clutching at straws. What matters is not the terminology, it's the conclusion. Charap concludes that winning a long war is not likely enough to justify the cost, so whatever he meant, it must lead to that conclusion. If what he meant was that the West would run into problems way down the line, but Russia would do so first, then it wouldn't lead to the conclusion he reached would it? So that cannot be what he meant. It's really the bare minimum of charitable interpretation to assume the reasons back the conclusion.

    So far you mentioned one expert, Charap, who proposes opening diplomatic channels for future negotiations, while maintaining fighting and other means of pressure on Russia (he specifically mentions that diplomacy cannot come at the expense of coercion). So yes, possibly once Russia is weakened enough such talks might be started.Jabberwock

    No, that's not what Charap is suggesting. He's suggesting such talks right now. Not 'once Russia is weakened enough. His argument is the exact opposite, that waiting for Russia to be more weakened is not worth the cost.

    it is now time that the United States develop a vision for how the war ends. Fifteen months of fighting has made clear that neither side has the capacity—even with external help—to achieve a decisive military victory over the other. Regardless of how much territory Ukrainian forces can liberate, Russia will maintain the capability to pose a permanent threat to Ukraine. The Ukrainian military will also have the capacity to hold at risk any areas of the country occupied by Russian forces—and to impose costs on military and civilian targets within Russia itself.
    These factors could lead to a devastating, years-long conflict that does not produce a definitive outcome. The United States and its allies thus face a choice about their future strategy. They could begin to try to steer the war toward a negotiated end in the coming months. Or they could do so years from now. If they decide to wait, the fundamentals of the conflict will likely be the same, but the costs of the war—human, financial, and otherwise—will have multiplied.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    The issue you missed is that if we are to talk about the IMF and US economic capitalistic oppression, then the transformation of the former EE countries is the prime example of that, so their HFIs must reflect it.Jabberwock

    They're not any more. They may be a prime example of how it worked in the late 90s, but they're not an example of how it works now. They're also, more to the point of the argument, not an example of the sort of 'club' Ukraine is looking to join became unlike Ukraine, they did not have such crippling debts, predatory monopolies like Black Rock, destroyed infrastructure, and huge globally important assets, nor were they entering into a fractured Europe in recession.

    From the strategic level the most reasonable way is...

    ...This will make Crimean forces quite difficult to maintain, which might prompt another withdrawal.

    I wasn't questioning your ability to make stuff up. I was questioning the extent to which any of it can be demonstrated to be a viable solution.

    You've not cited a single expert source, just come up with a load of wild speculation. You might as well have said "Ukraine will perform an incantation to summon demons who will fight off the Russians". A load of military acronyms doesn't stand in place of an argument here, which, in this context would be in the form "so-and-so states that...", preferably followed by a citation. Absent of that, we're in the same boat since all we have of specifics with actual expert basis, are the conclusions.

    The details about funding the artillery production in the coming years can be found e.g. here and here.Jabberwock

    Neither article addresses the issues Charap raises, they both just give targets, not the means by which those targets will be met given political opposition. Nor do either of those sources give relative figures showing that the resultant production mentioned will be higher than Russia's.

    I do not know what budgetary mechanisms will be applied, I think it is quite likely that they will fail.Jabberwock

    Well then. If they fail, how will the West sustain the expenditure reliant on them?

    The problem with Ukrainian troops is not that it run out of men, but rather that, due its tactics, it must maintain a high quality of troops, not necessarily as numerous. They are not running meat attacks with mobiks, like Russia, so they have lower losses, but each soldier is more precious (as he is better trained and equipped). So it is not so much about conscription numbers but about training and equipping the force, which the West helps with a lot.Jabberwock

    Again, this is un-cited. I have no reason to believe you. Mearsheimer, for example says...

    Who wins an attrition war is largely a function of three factors: the balance of resolve between the two sides; the population balance between them; and the casualty-exchange ratio. The Russians have a decisive advantage in population size and a marked advantage in the casualty-exchange ratio; the two sides are evenly matched in terms of resolve.

    ... and here's one of your lauded Ukrainian officials you claimed earlier had their fingers on the pulse quoted in the Washington Post...

    One senior Ukrainian government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid, called the number of tanks promised by the West a “symbolic” amount. Others privately voiced pessimism that promised supplies would even reach the battlefield in time.

    “If you have more resources, you more actively attack,” the senior official said. “If you have fewer resources, you defend more. We’re going to defend. That’s why if you ask me personally, I don’t believe in a big counteroffensive for us. I’d like to believe in it, but I’m looking at the resources and asking, ‘With what?’ Maybe we’ll have some localized breakthroughs.”

    “We don’t have the people or weapons,” the senior official added. “And you know the ratio: When you’re on the offensive, you lose twice or three times as many people. We can’t afford to lose that many people.”

    Air access in Ukraine is negligible for transportation of goods. Sea transportation will have to be replaced by land transport (mostly railway), which has about half of capacity. The railway network will have to be expanded (it has already gained 470 km of new and renewed tracks last year, despite the war). Poland has pledged significant expansion of its eastern network, which will be connected to its central communication hub. There are talks with Romania, which would strengthen its infrastructure to allow export of Ukrainian goods from its ports. Still, the throughput will be lower than the sea transportation, reaching at best two thirds of its volumeJabberwock

    So who is it claiming any of this will work? Charap said...

    it is difficult to imagine how the Ukrainian economy can recover if its airspace remains closed, its ports remain largely blockaded, its cities under fire, its men of working age fighting at the front, and millions of refugees unwilling to return to the country.

    ...So who is it claiming Charap's conclusion here is nonsense?

    Again, if it's not nonsense, if it's just one of the options, then we try peace, because war is horrible, we try it only if we absolutely have to, not on a preponderance of evidence.

    Throughout the thread I have already provided much more facts and details to support my arguments than you did.Jabberwock

    Indeed you have. As I said, I've no interest in having the absurd discussion you're thinking of. The idea that us throwing our 'data' at each other results in anything other than the exact same positions we both started with is naive beyond reckoning. I'm asking here for something different. I'm asking for expert support for the notion that, for example, Charap's position is actually non-viable. Because if you can't show that, then you have no argument. If a peaceful solution is viable, then we ought try it.

    Your chosen expert seems to to agree with my points, as painful as it might be for you.Jabberwock

    Nowhere does she say anything even approaching your points. She doesn't argue that Ukraine can win territory back, she doesn't argue that wearing Russia down will solve the problem in the long run, she doesn't argue that Russia are unlikely to improve their measures of freedom.

    Can we at least take a guess how willing Putin would be to maintain ceasefire in such case?Jabberwock

    Yes. Clearly we can. Did you think Charap was joking? Had he temporarily lost his mind? Maybe had too much to drink? Obviously, if an expert in foreign relations thinks it is possible then it is clearly possible. You don't have to agree with him, but you (an unqualified layman) sneering at him (a qualified, experienced and respected strategist) just makes you look stupid.

    Your claim was that Ukraine's military potential does not increaseJabberwock

    No, my claim is that it cannot increase faster than Russia's

    Maintaining the current level of support costs the US less than one percent of its annual budget and Russia already cannot keep up. So the West does not have to put 'all their effort', in fact, it is enough that it puts a rather modest effort, like it does right now.Jabberwock

    Well then it must be the 'modest effort' that is proving hard to sustain mustn't it? Otherwise why would Charap (a fucking expert in these exact questions) say otherwise? It's patently absurd for you to think you can in any way dismiss his conclusion by just guessing how difficult it might be.

    Basically, it comes down to this - several experts consider talks, ceasefires, and an end to military offensives is not only a viable, but a necessary strategy. Since that strategy kills fewer people (and results in far less collateral damage) - again, in the view of these same experts, it is a strategy we ought to follow in favour of more destructive ones. To argue against this, you have to show that these experts are not right. You personal opinion doesn't do that.
  • Masculinity
    The starving kids in China, as Mom would say to guilt trip us into eating vegetables, don't seem to have much to do with an individual's life, which is circumscribed by nationalist politics.Moliere

    True, but this is a rationalisation isn't it? Why did 'Mom' try the 'starving kids' routine? Was she not expecting the response "well, that has nothing to do with my eating policies, but is the result of far more systemic issues"? Emotionally, the expected result is guilt. All I'm saying is that emotionally that needs a salve. Maybe for some that salve is the insistence that it is a systemic problem divorced from day-to-day decisions, but for others that salve is going to be to say "hey, but I'm a victim too!". The actual felicity of any of those stories isn't the point, it's their function - to ease that uncomfortable feeling you get when you walk past one of the nation's homeless, or you see a painfully thin baby with flies around its eyes on the television. Those images produce guilt (or axon potentials in the anterior middle cingulate cortex with accompanying increase in cortisol and adrenaline and changes in heart rate accompanied by digestive discomfort, depending of your preferred frame!), we need to understand that and do something to make that nasty feeling go away. Physiologically, those feelings are 'designed' specifically to force us to come up with a plan to alleviate them.

    That's pretty much where I'm at. If there's somehow, miraculously, a reasonable chance to actually change international conditions I'd sign up. In the meantime there are victims nearby who certainly aren't the destitute, but aren't doing too good either.Moliere

    I'd agree with this but with one huge caveat. There's only one front page and there are things we can do to make it more likely that those with the power to change international conditions are inclined to do so. Those things need some of the oxygen of political discourse, all of which is sucked out at the moment by the minutiae of identity politics.

    That, and the fact that solidarity is literally our only weapon and we ought be more precious of it that to descend into tribalism at the slightest hint of dissent in the ranks.

    I think that makes sense.

    For what it's worth, I believe you. I don't think it wise to jump at people for every possible slight. I said earlier on I believe there are some egos that need deflating. I can go that far ,because I don't like self-righteousness when it comes to politicking. It's far too gray to really go full-on into one's own self-righteousness unless one hasn't reflected enough.

    Then I think we agree. As I've said in my post above, I'm not here making the argument that we must look at matters like identity from a social constructionist, or functionalist, or even behaviourist perspective, I'm only making the argument that because we can do so, our disagreements are philosophical, not ethical. No one is abusing anyone (not here anyway) and people are not oppressed by the fact the others do not agree with their preferred notion of how identity works.

    The old question for me is finding the difference between social and psychological entities. I haven't answered it yet.Moliere

    Nor me.
  • Masculinity
    The explanations on offer seem to depend on (a) ideas about identity or (b) ideas about language. Your objections to (a) and (b) are what provide the opening for a functionalist explanation. But not everyone accepts those objections, so to them you're just offering a competing theory, but on ground functionalism does not find congenial. Your functionalism is just unwelcome.Srap Tasmaner

    That's a fair assessment, but people (here) are still mistaking my intervention here for a prescriptive one where it is intended to be only an allowance.

    That my functionalist explanations are unwelcome is clear (to say the least), but that's not the issue. The issue is solely that those other explanations' dependencies, which you highlight above lack the concreteness required to find acts of disagreement with them to be acts of oppression.

    I know it was a long time back (in thread-years), but this whole debate stated with ideas about oppression and what oppression looked like. The point at which I intervened.

    My argument is not "We are compelled to look at this from a functionalist perspective". My argument is "We are not compelled to agree to such a thing as identity, and therefore denying it is not an act of oppression, it's an act of philosophical disagreement"

    Even with something like Marxism, I'm not going to say it taps into some kind of concrete reality the denial of which constitutes an act of abuse. I just think it's broadly right about economics. Where others disagree, it is a disagreement about economics, not an act of oppression.

    It's at this ethical level that my objection sits.

    You may be compelled to accept something like "institution" if you're studying a business, or "law" if you're studying legal codes. If what we're doing is more like studying legal codes, the fact that we can parse the law as ex post facto categorisations of bodily comportments tells us nothing about its content.fdrake

    I don't actually think so. A perfectly good functionalist account of legal practice could still be given. We could say that when people carry out such-and-such an act, there is a tendency for another group to place some kind of curtailment on their freedom. In fact this explanation works better because it gives a closer account of why some criminals get away with their acts and why sometimes the police do not pursue a prosecution even though a criminal act has been committed. We are not compelled to discuss legal codes, we don't need them as principles and starting from that actually requires a whole load of caveats and addendums to make it fit the reality we experience, we could reduce them to mere mechanisms.

    As above, to sustain an accusation of oppression where the concept of truthful identity is denied, it needs to be much more concrete than that.

    I'm not trying to say those things "really" exist either. For the purposes of this comment, I don't care if there really are mental states or identity really is a psychic act of affiliation, just that as a methodological point, saying "there's nothing to be explained" selectively within what is to be explained makes no sense.fdrake

    This makes the exact mistake I've outlined above. The aim is not to dissolve social entities by reducing them to their causal parts, it is to show how their concreteness can be called into question - not their assumed reality. I'm quite happy with a conversation which assume the social role 'man' is a reality. what I object to is twofold;

    1. That this reality is concrete - it has a truth value the denial of which constitutes an act of oppression - we hear about "denying who the person really is". It is not concrete and disagreements are philosophical, not abuse.

    2. Even if we accept these realities, that does not constitute an acceptance of any given theory about their nature. Particularly, in this instance the question of who owns those realities, who has the final word on correctness conditions. accepting that these realities are constructed doesn't deny them, but it does give us cause to question any assumed answers here.

    we could all agree that the sole criterion for being a man, in this sense, is an honest report that one is. Which would even be a correctness condition in terms of behaviour.fdrake

    Again - we could. The ethical argument requires that we must. Otherwise there's no act of denial (and so no act of abuse) in mere disagreement about those correctness conditions.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    It seems you are still not familiar with how EE economies were restructured ('given away to the West', as some said) after the communism.Jabberwock

    Quite familiar, but I'm no historian. Perhaps rather than relying on vague attempts at condescending dismissal, you'd actually say what issue you think I've missed.

    Everything is perfectly clear: in your quote Charap does not propose any solution, he just says it is needed. Can you see the difference?Jabberwock

    Fine, let's have an equal playing field then. You claim that continued fighting could release some more territory from occupation and deplete Russian stocks of artillery faster than Ukraine's. Which military operations exactly? What formations do you think will be successful and why (and don't give me any formations that have been tried before and ever failed because we know those don't work). What artillery supply deals will be struck? How will places like Germany fend off the rise of the far right whilst maintaining weapons supply? What budgetary mechanisms will the US and Europe put in place to avoid recession (and again, don't give me any that have failed in the past)? What policies will Ukraine put in place to maintain conscription? What economic policies will maintain the next decade of economic stability without any air access or port use?

    And to be clear, in answering all of those questions don't ever supply a battle manoeuvre, policy, strategy or approach that's ever failed before because that means it will fail again. When you've provided all that data, backed up by expert testimony that it will work... then you're in a position to accuse the move to ceasefire of lacking in detail.

    Fortna specifically writes why any accord negotiated at this time would likely not bring enduring peace, so in effect any solution negotiated now would be Minsk 3 (while you agree that Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 were 'crap'). Nothing in your Charap's quote contradicts that.Jabberwock

    No. And Fortna does not go on to say that another few decades of war will eventually prevent Russia from doing this again either. She's pretty pessimistic about any solution at all. Again, as I said above, if both solutions look bleak, we don't pick war because war is horrible.

    If Charap does not propose a solution that would end the warJabberwock

    He does...

    Since talks will be needed but a settlement is out of the question, the most plausible ending is an armistice agreement. An armistice—essentially a durable cease-fire agreement that does not bridge political divides—would end the hot war between Russia and Ukraine but not their broader conflict. The archetypal case is the 1953 Korean armistice, which dealt exclusively with the mechanics of maintaining a cease-fire and left all political issues off the table. Although North and South Korea are still technically at war, and both claim the entirety of the peninsula as their sovereign territory, the armistice has largely held.

    Soon it will have more modern planes, while Russia is losing them much faster than it can produce them. Does Charap deny that? Can you give the relevant quote?Jabberwock

    I already have given the relevant quote. You've asked this before and I supplied Charap's conclusions that the benefits of depleting Russia's capabilities do not outweigh the costs.

    The difference is that the West, due to its much greater economic potential, can ramp up production much more than Russia and its allies.Jabberwock

    It's not just about economics, it's about the political ability to keep pouring money into Ukraine at the expense of other calls on that money during an economic recession. Of course if all the countries of the West put all their effort into arming Ukraine, their combined resources would be bigger than Russia's, that goes without saying. The point is that Russia is directly involved in this war and is a ruthless autocracy, so it can pretty much spend as much as it likes on military until it reaches a point of open revolt in the streets. The West are in no such position. The arms lobby are very powerful, but other lobbies are powerful too and they want a slice of the pie, plus they have to keep an electorate happy, and whilst a good media campaign can do that, people are fickle and have short attention spans, the 'Glorious War' will get boring soon and need replacing with another distraction. We've no skin in the game so haven't got the same capability to maintain investment. The troubles Germany are having right now are a good example of this.
  • Masculinity
    I think we're thinking along the same lines except you remembered to mention filtering and I forgot again.Srap Tasmaner

    Ah well. I forget to mention embodiment. I think yours was the lesser oversight.
  • Buy, Borrow, Die
    4. vote differently (known as democracy :wink:)jorndoe

    I shouldn't think voting differently would be a good idea since I expect the people included in the 'we' already vote for the more progressive candidate.

    It's not our votes that are the problem. It's the others'

    Voting is just a snapshot of the way the electorate feel at the time about the candidates and their policies. It's like taking a photograph. More participation just gives a more accurate snapshot to the returning officer, but it doesn't actually change anything about the way things are with the populace. They still think what they think, make the choices they make... You've just let the returning officer know in a bit more detail what that is.

    Real change requires changing that reality, changing the way people actually think and behave, so that next time there's an election, the photo looks better.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Well. This is a lot more extensive than the response I thought you'd left me earlier...

    That was your claim:

    The simple fact is that, by some measures of freedom, it is perfectly possible for a nation to get from where Russia is now to where Ukraine is now in the space of eight years. — Isaac

    In which it nowhere says anything about...

    without consideration of any particular factorsJabberwock


    you have flatly refused to consider aspects of the current Russian situation that would counter that claim, arguing that they are irrelevant, because HFI includes everything. Is that correct?Jabberwock

    No. I've just explained that above. I'll just repeat...

    Degree of indebtedness is an external factor, as is predatory contracting by monopolies. Those are not already measured by the HFI, but rather are theorised to be potential causes of those measures.

    For example, political arrests is a measure, IMF control might cause a measure to change (or not). One is already measured, the other isn't.


    Which qualified expert and what exact solution he proposes?Jabberwock

    I told you near the beginning of all this...

    I've been taking my latest understanding of the situation from Samual Charap's excellent article in Foreign Affairs.Isaac

    I've been citing the article for the last four days.

    The United States and its allies thus face a choice about their future strategy. They could begin to try to steer the war toward a negotiated end in the coming months. Or they could do so years from now. If they decide to wait, the fundamentals of the conflict will likely be the same, but the costs of the war—human, financial, and otherwise—will have multiplied. An effective strategy for what has become the most consequential international crisis in at least a generation therefore requires the United States and its allies to shift their focus and start facilitating an endgame. — Samuel Charap

    Is there anything not clear enough there?

    So even assuming she still thinks negotiations work, she has many reasons to believe (and she lists them in detail, it is worth a read) why they do not apply to this particular situation.Jabberwock

    Look up the difference between 'armistice' and 'peace deal'. Fortna is giving reasons why an actual peace deal will be difficult. Charap agrees, but is talking about an armistice.

    Either way, "carry on with the war until Russia runs out of bombs" is not on either experts wish list.

    If Russia will be unable to sustain the current level, then its military capability WILL deteriorate, right?Jabberwock


    Given that Ukraine's potential now increases (at the current level of support)Jabberwock

    It doesn't. As Charap points out. And even NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s admits that “the war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of munitions and depleting allied stockpiles. The current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production. This puts our defense industries under strain.”

    It will do so even if the support for the war from the West decreases, as long as it is still higher than what Russia will be able to spend, which is exactly what I wrote.Jabberwock

    I know what you wrote, but it does not support your argument that war is necessary, I've given reasonable alternative interpretations.

    Again, the main thing you're missing here is that war is horrible, no one with a shred of human empathy actually wants war, so to argue for it you must show it is necessary, that no other option will work. To argue for more peaceful solutions I don't have anywhere near the same burden because we prefer them anyway, I only need to show that it is possible, from there it follows that ethically we ought try it.

    Simply presenting people who think war will work, or (worse) coming up with your own scenarios in which war might work is not sufficient. We don't want war because it's goddam awful. So "It could work" is woefully inadequate. "It will most likely work" still doesn't cut it. You have to show that routes to peace are actually impossible (or so unlikely as to be not worth trying). If even a single expert in the field thinks it's worth a shot, then it's worth a shot because its the option that doesn't kill tens of thousands of people.
  • Masculinity
    that the moves you've made the last few pages undermine the starting premises of the debate.fdrake

    Hey! I've only posted one thing since you were praising my contribution! Caprice!

    This discussion contains laws and identities. Identities are suspect whereas laws are not. The criterion Isaac is using to dissolve identity would could also dissolve law. And all the other abstractions we'd use to understand social scenarios.fdrake

    I agree (with the caveat I added). We could dissolve law that way. We could say that having broken a law is a post hoc story explaining the basic social breakdown which actually caused the crime to take place. I'm not sure that would be a bad thing in some cases.

    But I'm not here arguing that because we could, we ought.

    What I'm arguing, is that because we could, it is not a given. We are not compelled to accept 'identities' as an empirical reality, any more than we are compelled to accept laws as a descriptor of criminality.

    If it is useful to do so, we might. If our frame were a legal one, rejecting law as a reality would be self-defeating, but here we're talking about who 'owns' the reified entity, not about it's reification, sensu lato. So the matter of it being soluble, whilst true, doesn't really help determine ownership.

    Ownership of this social construction that we're calling an identity seems to be hinging on epistemological claims about how it is determined, who can say what it's nature is. It's those claims I'm challenging.
  • Masculinity

    In cognitive terms, the stories act as both high level meta-models of how lower level model cohere, but also as both filters and producers of confirmatory behaviour. So there's always a forward acting element.

    Like with perception, we're telling stories about the scene to explain the retinal sensation, but also those stories are producing actions design to confirm them.

    I see a similar thing happening with social-role stories, they're models which explain their inputs (in this case the outputs from lower level models), and thereby act as filters for noise, but also they're producing behaviours which are aimed at maximising the information the models have to work on (minimising surprise).

    A story for 'trans' might be explaining all sorts of otherwise unconnected lower level models, like sexual preferences, dress preferences, discomforts (and comforts) among other sexes,etc...but then it's also producing a set of behaviours which maximise the information harvest to confirm that model. In this case we're talking about feedback from a social role based action. "If I'm an 'X', then when I do 'Y' people will respond 'Z'" - do Y and see if people respond Z.

    So in your example. The revulsion is explained - "It was a 'hippy' wot did it, hence I'm revolted", but if it was a hippy, then being more revolted would fit well as a next act, it would be what my character would do next in the play - so let's test that theory, let's be more revolted and see if it fits... and so on.
  • Masculinity
    Sorry I must have missed your reply earlier, didn't mean to ignore it.

    Rather than a claim about the general structure of the human psyche this is an aspect of humanity that is largely social: a kind of reason that's beyond the brain, shared across bodies and brains through our practices.Moliere

    Yeah, I agree. When I referred to a claim about the human psyche I only meant quite specifically the claim that we select from social constructions (and the associated claim that we're not really equipped to do otherwise). I agree that those entities, such as they are, are social ones.

    for most they'll accept the line that capitalism is what will set us free, and that it's just a matter of progress and time for the less fortunate to be lifted up by its magic insofar that we're able to curb the excesses of capital (themselves measured by a nationalist, rather than internationalist, measure)Moliere

    Yeah... I think that's guilt-based too, though. No one genuinely buys that shit... do they?

    I think there really are just that many victims. Capital is violent.Moliere

    That's a more charitable way of looking at it that maybe I could adopt. I'm not sure I'm ready to excuse the lack of perspective relative to the major victims (the destitute), but I'm willing to go as far as to see genuine victimhood.

    I'm guessing that we also have different notions about science's relationship to ontology and philosophy in addition to our respective stances on The Subject.Moliere

    We do. So many threads to pull on here, not sure which to follow and which to save for later...

    what if lowering surprise isn't the social goal for linguistic use?Moliere

    Well, then I'd be wrong! Again, supporting an active inference model of language is probably another thread we could pull on, but it's been combed through on other threads.

    You don't have to convert to the new religion. But you might need to offer some persuasion as to why the old system which punished people for being themselves is preferable in order to earn any charity to be extended to the old uses.Moliere

    But that's already so loaded. Nothing about using visible signs of biological sex to pick from two forms of address is 'punishment'. It's just a cultural practice. We might have chosen hair colour, or height, or nose shape. We chose sex (for some clear cultural reasons, of course).

    I can't see how that's a punishment beyond not getting what one wants. I understand some might prefer this new way. That doesn't make it a punishment to not get it.

    I think there's value across generational divides, and that we'll be able to work out our differences.Moliere

    I do hope so. I want to be clear though, that it's not so much the differences that I think need resolving. I think things will eventually end up some middle ground of pronouns being like names (learnt, person by person) with a kind of neutral 'they' for unknown cases. I don't think that would be a bad thing.

    The thing I'm most vexed about is the victim culture, the way that not adhering to this (or any other) scheme is treated as an act of oppression. That I think is dangerous because it undermines attempts to address actual oppression. Most of what I'm doing here is showing that it's not oppressive. It might be old-fashioned, clumsy, but not an act of abuse.

    My thought is identity is a social creation entirely, but that it's also entirely real and we can be right or wrong about it. The person whose in the best position, most of the time, for making that judgment is the person whose identity it isMoliere

    Then it what sense is it a 'social' creation, if others play no role in it and are overruled by the individual? That doesn't, on the face of it, sound very social. It sounds entirely private.
  • Chaos Magic
    I'm willing to discuss my anger with someone prepared to admit to their own.unenlightened

    Sure, go for it. I'm angry at the world's decent into tribalistic lunacy where the value of a person's contribution to discussion is based, not on their expertise or their intellect, but on whether they hold a handful of key opinions which act as stigmata for the sanctified.

    So what gets your goat?
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Your argument was that HFI can move significantly and positively without consideration of any particular factorsJabberwock

    No. It wasn't. Please, if you're going to continue to try this "you argued that..." line of discussion (which frankly I'd rather you didn't), at least use the quote function to dispute what I've actually said, not what you'd like me to have said.

    If you don't understand an aspect of my argument, then ask. Ask sarcastically if you like, but simply asserting I said something and then arguing against it isn't a discussion, I might as well not be here you can just do both parts.

    The bottom line, however, is that the countries in the US sphere of influence are much less oppressed, according to the HFI, therefore we should expect that Ukraine will also be much less oppressed, when it joints them.Jabberwock

    It's not going to 'join them'. The 'them' you're referring to are 'countries recently freed from Soviet restrictions on trade and governance, entering a buoyant European economy with functioning, if underinvested infrastructure and a few billion in debts'. That is not the group Ukraine are proposing to join.

    to argue for peace I have to show there's a reasonable chance'. You did not, on the contrary, you specifically refuse to do so.Jabberwock

    That a qualified expert in the field thinks peaceful solutions are possible is an argument in favour of peaceful solutions. It is, in fact, just about the strongest argument possible here, and not one I should even be engaged in among the relatively well informed.

    You've stretched out to like ten pages of posts what should have taken half a paragraph. "Yes, its possible that peaceful negotiations might work because clearly some experts consider that to be the case... Here's why I think we shouldn't pursue that option nonetheless..." That's the discussion we should have been having. Not this truly bizarre exchange where you half pretend there's no expert disagreement, then half pretend there is, but your spectacular mental kung fu can work out who's right, if only some complete layman could summarise the argument for you.

    the quite reasonable conclusion is that you do not know any such alternativeJabberwock

    This despite me citing those sources...?

    withdrawal beyond the status quo ante. Which of your experts says Russia is likely to peacefully withdraw beyond pre-2014 borders, leaving Crimea, Donbas and all other annexed oblastsJabberwock

    None. That criteria is unlikely to be met. Fortna is not suggesting that every single criteria need be met. Status quo ante bellum solutions are usually cited as plausible in cases of mutually disputed territory, so as Fortna puts it "neither side loses". This is clearly not an option here, but as is clear from the thesis, it's not that all factors need be present.

    But again, this paper is cited, by Anatol Lieven at Quincy, if I recall correctly. If you think its inappropriate, then take it up with him. I'm just letting you know what the arguments are, since you asked. If you think you have the grasp and experience in this field to take them down, then you crack on, but I'm not the man you need to be going after.

    My experts say that the US is spending 0.50% of its annual budget on military help for Ukraine (0.25% for other help). That exact same amount constitutes 15% of the Russian annual budget. My experts say that it is a greater burden for Russia. Do your experts disagree?Jabberwock

    No. I cited what my expert said.

    that benefit [Russia's economic fragility] does not outweigh these costs [Europe's and America's]. — Charap

    As I've pointed out before, your error appears to be looking at only one side and concluding what is actually a relative account from there.

    The Economist says Russia will be able to maintain a conflict of much lower intensity and I said that it will be able to maintain a simmering conflict. How is that opposlte?Jabberwock

    Because your argument is about how Russia's economy will be damaged more than the West's such that it will be unable to keep up the artillery supply that the West could. If you're now saying that Russia's economy will survive a low intensity simmering war, then you have no grounds for your argument that...

    low-intensity (i.e. simmering) conflict will not allow Russia to prevent Ukraine leaving its sphere of influence.Jabberwock that argument was based on deteriorating Russia's military capability which in turn was based on collapsing it's economy. This is all quite clearly detailed in the thread if you read back a few posts...

    Remind me how decades of war gets them any more freedom, any more 'sovereignty'. Just your wild and unsubstantiated hope that somehow Russia will run out of artillery first? — Isaac

    Well, at least we see Russia is running out of artillery, although slowly

    It needs to be sustained at the level higher than Russia, which hurts economically much more.Jabberwock

    what matters is their ability to replenish, and as the historical data I've presented shows, that ability is usually sufficient to maintain war for decades. That Russia will be the exception for some reason is wishful thinking. — Isaac

    It would be sufficient to maintain a simmering conflict

    the main point is depleting Russia's potential to the point when it is no longer capable of threatening Ukraine.Jabberwock

    If, as you now agree, the war is likely to simmer for a long time, and, as you now agree, the Russian economy can quite easily sustain such a war, then on what grounds are you now supporting an argument that continued war will deplete Russia's military capabilities quicker than Ukraine's?
  • Chaos Magic
    you play this silly game of universalising the opposition in an attempt to humiliate and silence.unenlightened

    Uh huh...

    I don't see it that way. I think it just means that truth is a secondary principle. — T Clark

    Bullshit on, dude. See what you want to see, no worries.

    I suppose that quip was meant to hearten and encourage further discussion of T Clark's considered position?
  • Chaos Magic
    i see that you are making up what I say and are not honestly engagingunenlightened

    Fucksake, not this shite again. Must every challenge be 'dishonest' these days, every disagreement 'disinformation', every ideological difference 'bigotry'....

    When did we forget how to disagree?

    If you haven't the stomach for engaging with those who see things differently to you (yes, including the meaning of what you write which, it may surprise you to hear, is not as transparent as you might like to think), then I can't think what you even post here for. Were you expecting a coterie?
  • Chaos Magic
    It seems there are three categories of speech act that @unenlightened might vent anger at on the grounds of not 'telling the truth'

    1. People who say things they do not believe for nefarious purposes.

    Fair to be angry at these people. Their purposes are nefarious after all. But it's nothing to do with truth. It's to do with intent to harm.

    2. People who say things they believe to be true but later turn out to fail accuracy tests.

    What grounds do we have to be angry at these people. Surely we can't be expected to only say that which is infallible.

    3. People who say things they believe to be true but @unenlightened believes they didn't ought to believe.

    Here I think is where we actually get to the crux of the matter. People arriving at beliefs by methods we don't agree with, usually by trusting authorities we think they didn't ought to trust, or not trusting authorities we think they ought.

    Hence back to where we started on truth several weeks ago. It's political. It's about gaining (or losing) a cudgel. We say 'truth' is a beacon of sanctity, we raise it above petty disputes, but all we're really talking about is which institutions we trust, which methods we approve of.
  • Chaos Magic
    Language presumes truth, because if it is not presumably true it has no presumable meaningunenlightened

    I don't see how. If I say something to you like "the pub is at the end of the road", you'll be able to do anything with that exactly and only to the extent that you trust me. It seems trust, not truth here is doing the work. You're not expecting me to be 100% right, you're expecting that I'm not deliberately trying to get you to the end of the road for nefarious purposes. It my intentions that matter, not my unfailing accuracy.

    When politicians lie, it's usually not a clash of beliefs, it's a clash of intention. They don't even believe what they're saying. Their intention is to sound electable. You (presumably disliking their policies) don't want that.

    If a politician genuinely believed what they say, then what possible grounds could you have for anger? Must everyone only speak when guaranteed to pass all accuracy tests in perpetuity?
  • Chaos Magic
    that phrase is redundantunenlightened

    I'm curious then how you square that with...

    I defend the meaning of the word against the destruction of its meaning with some vigor, because if the truth becomes a matter of choice, or convenience, then language itself loses its value, and we become as dumb beasts, because meaning depends on truth. Unless we can trust in the truth of language, we must dismiss its meaning entirely. Chaos will reign, but no one will listen to its proclamations.unenlightened


    That's one hell of an impassioned plea for the sanctity of a term which can, it turns out, be completely dropped from the sorts of sentences it's used in without the slightest impact.
  • Chaos Magic
    I believe it is true that my key will open the front doorunenlightened

    Which is different, how, to "I believe that my key will open the front door"?

    What's '... it is true that... ' doing in that sentence? The sentence seems to have an identical meaning without it.
  • Masculinity
    A heterosexual child doesn't have to wait long for his or her culture to supply the "guide book" for what "heterosexual" means. On the other hand, a rural homosexual child may recognize that he likes other boys, and understands that this is an outlier desire, best not discussed. He may not have a "homosexual identity" until he comes into regular contact with urban homosexuals who can supply the gay "guide book".BC

    Yeah, that's the idea. There's some endocrine response to the sight of the male body, or some such, that's the raw data that needs explaining. How it's explained is the story. 'Gay' is the name for the story - how it's explained - not the name for the endocrine response (which is just chemicals).

    It seems to me that in taking up a narrative, you don't so much buy a copy as make a copy, so even though there's going to be some, maybe considerable, family resemblance among the copies of a story each member of a community are carrying around, they are still going to be idiosyncratic.Srap Tasmaner

    Yeah, completely. But here we're talking about the names given to those stories 'gay', 'man', 'geek', 'fool'... These, like any other naming practices, rely on family resemblances. The [collection of idiosyncratic stories which all sufficiently resemble each other to be called 'being a man'] is called 'manhood'. It's called that by a language community who actively want such broad summarisation of idiosyncrasy. Idiosyncrasy is annoying to take into consideration all the time, it makes prediction work really hard. There's a benefit to all of us in ironing it out for the purposes of communication and social role-playing.

    But also, just as a purely psychological theory, I'm unconvinced that our stories are so unique. I agree that we re-construct them ourselves, but only out of parts available already. Remember, these are post hoc, subsequent to the actions and internal workings they are trying to explain. So the driver here is to find an explanation, it's a defensive move (against uncertainty) not a creative one.

    The archetype may still show through, but quite a few of the details might have changed. In fact, over time one narrative might split into two, if there are populations that started with different versions of the original. And by now it should be really, really obvious that what we're looking at here is evolution.Srap Tasmaner

    Totally. That's why I brought up the idea earlier of message faithfulness. The idea being that we might try to copy a story, but we'll make small mistakes - I liken it to playing Chinese whispers - and others will copy their story from us, mistakes and all. We end up this way, not just with new stories, but, worryingly, stories which we might actually find unhelpful, stories which were supposed to be helpful once but which have become mutated by error into something not serving its original purpose.

    Obviously there's a countervailing drive for us to find the stories useful and we'll be pulled to reject those which aren't. But that tension can create difficulties.

    I think we have to say something about how whatever you've got before you acquire the new story (to use on yourself or others) is going to color your version of the story. At the very least, what else is already in your repertoire is going to shape your use of the new script -- some people will use it more and some less, depending on what else they've acquired and how they use them. (You can know a hundred stories and always reach for the same two or three.)Srap Tasmaner

    Yeah, totally. It's not as unlike picking parts as you suggest you want to avoid. Think about how someone who sees themselves as a 'geek' is going to handle suddenly finding themselves to be good at some sport or other. The narrative they reach for to explain that fantastic gift with, say, archery, isn't going to be the same one the 'jock' might reach for because that simply wouldn't fit with the rest of his story, but it's unlikely to be completely made up either, just more 'Robin Hood' than 'LeBron James' (or whoever the LeBron James of archery is).

    I'm interested in the mechanisms of acquiring and using these stories. The individual's narrative repertoire will be idiosyncratic in exactly the way their genes and their idiolect are, but we can say general things about how people are individuated in these ways.

    Which might get us some ways toward Moliere's sense of individuality.
    Srap Tasmaner

    Yeah. I think @Moliere has even started a new thread on this, but the issue here is one of language, I think. We can accept that these stories are idiosyncratic and even unique (though I wouldn't go that far myself), but we still collect them (in loose fuzzy-edged collections) and name that collection in our language acts. Since these language acts are a public shared activity, it follows that these named collections are public shared utilities, not individually owned 'identities'.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I begin to see a pattern.Jabberwock


    any external factors (such as the political situation in Russia) may be promptly dismissed.Jabberwock

    They are not external. They are in the HFI measurements.

    Now you are making an argument that post-war Ukraine will NOT be able to increase its HFI, completely disregarding your previous argument and basing that prediction solely on the external factors.Jabberwock

    Degree of indebtedness is an external factor, as is predatory contracting by monopolies. Those are not already measured by the HFI, but rather are theorised to be potential causes of those measures.

    For example, political arrests is a measure, IMF control might cause a measure to change (or not). One is already measured, the other isn't.

    I am just pointing out that the US influence does not seem to limit other countries' freedom.Jabberwock

    All you have is the sum total, it doesn't tell you which factors pushed in which direction, only what the end result of those factors put together was.

    Given that the US cannot even achieve a high HFI itself, it's unlikely that US influence was a positive factor.

    Given, further, what we know about US's predatory trade, privatisation, and monopolising practices, it's most likely to have be a negative factor, simply overcome by more positive ones (such as the very profitable new trading opportunities opened up by no longer being in the soviet bloc).

    No, i think experts considering the situation have taken different factors into account, that is why they have different opinions on the subject.Jabberwock

    Really? So you genuinely think Samual Charap, in researching his position for RAND just didn't think of looking to see what gains Ukraine had made when assessing how likely he considered further gains to be. Slipped his mind, perhaps? Again, if you think you've come up with some important factors to consider that he's missed he'd be delighted to hear from you, It's his job, after all, to make accurate predictions about these things. You'd be saving him face.

    I also assume that the Ukrainian command has taken into consideration even more factors, possibly even those not known to experts, when they started their counteroffensive.Jabberwock

    No doubt, but having different political objectives means that a) we've no way of deriving their data from their subsequent actions, and b) they wouldn't tell us the truth unless it suited those objectives to do so.

    So as a source for how well Ukraine are likely to do, Ukrainian generals are worse than useless.

    You have no qualms whatsoever criticizing one particular course of action, often describing it as inhumane and gladly taking a position of moral superiority,Jabberwock

    That's right. We all are equals when it comes to discussing morality, there's no body of expertise to call on, it's a good topic for lay discussion.

    when asked about the supposed existing reasonable alternative, you clam up.Jabberwock

    Exactly. If you seriously think there's no alternative then I can't help you. You can't expect to conduct a conversation on a topic like this one so woefully ill-informed. So read a little around the topic first. Having done that you will have become aware of the alternative opinions. Once aware of them, there's no need for me to point them out, simply say why you don't find their position convincing. Don't let's go through this rhetorical charade first.

    If you know what the alternative opinions are, then address them directly. If you don't then I suggest you read more widely before engaging in such a complex topic as this with such strong views as you espouse.

    You are happy to talk about the ideology that guides choices, but only of others. You want to talk about epistemological commitments, but not yours.Jabberwock

    Nope, more than happy to answer any questions or challenges regarding my ideology or epistemological commitments. Fire away.

    ceasefires can and do sometimes work. I still do not see what possible terms could be proposed to overcome this particular conflict, and you and your secret experts did nothing to help me.Jabberwock

    The article I provided was a review of the book, I thought you might be able to access that. I'm not a miracle worker, I cannot provide both sources and somehow also give you academic access to them. I'm no fan of the way academic papers restrict viewing access to institutions, but that's the situation we are in. If you can't access the sources I use and don't trust me to summarize them accurately we are at an impasse.

    This is the review summary, in lieu of mine...

    the book argues along functionalist lines that cease-fires are most likely, and strongest when ex ante prospects for enduring peace are the most dim. To examine the plausibility of the Realist critique, Fortna first estimates the overall baseline prospects for the duration of peace with situational factors, using sophisticated hazard rate estimation. The next chapter shows in a very ingenious and insightful analysis that agreement strength goes up when the baseline difficulty of maintaining peace increases. (The United States are shown to prefer systematically stronger agreements. This should serve to bolster Fortna’s claims, since if any country enjoyed a favorable balance of power with its enemies, and therefore would be least likely according to Realist logic to require a strong agreement, it should be the
    Detailed case studies of the Israeli–Syrian and Indian–Pakistani conflicts allow Fortna to argue forcefully and persuasively that cease-fires agreements are most likely when the baselines prospects for enduring peace are poor.

    Fortna persuasively argues that agreements do increase the prospects for an enduring peace. Loosely speaking, the risk of renewed conflict in case of a moderately strong agreement is about one-third the risk of a renewed conflict after a weak agreement. Strong agreements produce about one-seventh the risk of failure of a weak agreement. The components of cease-fire agreements that are particularly effective in promoting the durability of peace are found to be withdrawal beyond the status quo ante, demilitarized zones, explicit third-party guarantees, peacekeeping, joint commissions for dispute resolution, and a clear and precise specification of the case-fire terms

    It's quite clear on the matter. But I'm not going to be drawn into this make-believe notion that this is about weighing the evidence, I already regret the five minutes it took me to find and format those quotes from the PDF, as if evidence was going to have any effect.

    The trend is downward and all the factors that precipitated it are still in force, so it is reasonable to expect it will maintain that direction.Jabberwock

    As it is with both the US and Europe. This is a comparative exercise. But again, if you don't think it's a reasonable conclusion take it up with the experts who conclude it, don't argue with me about it, I didn't work this stuff out myself by pouring over source economic data, why the hell would I when there are experts who are much better informed than I am who do that for me?

    Ukraine would be on near-total economic and military life support from the West, which will eventually cause budgetary challenges for Western countries and readiness problems for their militaries. The global economic fallout of the war, including the volatility in grain and energy prices, would persist. The United States would be unable to focus its resources on other priorities, and Russian dependence on China would deepen. Although a long war would also further weaken Russia, that benefit does not outweigh these costs. — Charap


    Russia’s economy can withstand a long war, but not a more intense one
    Its defences against Western sanctions can only stretch so far

    which is about what I was saying...

    It's the opposite of what you are saying. You said...

    I did not say it will be short and decisive.Jabberwock

    It would be sufficient to maintain a simmering conflict,Jabberwock

    I have ackhowledged that the hostilities might simmer for a long time.Jabberwock

    We agreed that history tells us that wars of this nature are likely to persists for decades (a 'long' war), the kind of war the article says "Russia's economy can withstand". That's why I cited the article.
  • What do we know absolutely?

    Excellently written.

    I think this sums up the issue perfectly. If Bob says "I know the pub is at the end of the road", I don't stand in what is now a car park and stubbornly order a beer because he said he 'knew'. I treat the expression no differently to how I might treat it had he said "I'm quite sure the pub is at the end of the road". I treat the choice of words as an expression of confidence (in that context).

    Likewise, someone who 'knows' where his socks are is my estimation of confidence in his likelihood of finding them.

    We might build some castles in the air about what metaphysical constructs might be possible to invoke off the back of that connection, but they'd be subservient to the use, not the other way around.

    why a theory of how we talk ... is not the same as a theory of how we find our socks.Srap Tasmaner

    There's a paper title in that...
  • Masculinity
    Also Isaac, @Srap Tasmaner, keep up the good work. This is a rare conversation.fdrake

    Thanks, and likewise. Always nice to have a little cheer from the balcony every now and then, TPF is a tough crowd for my material (I'm saving the Maoist routine for the encore).