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Argumentation Ethics is Bad Argumentation

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Coase Posted: Fri, May 27 2011 8:46 PM

Some libertarians get so excited about Hoppe's argumentation ethics. Frankly, it's an argument that seems extremely bad. So maybe it's true that by arguing, I assume that I exclusively control myself (to a limited degree, mind you--in other contexts maybe I'm less in control. It only proves self-dictatorship for a very limited set of actions). Where do "rights" enter into it? Hope just goes control ==> rights without anything in between. But it's the between that's important. No one would contest that people control things. Hope demonstrates no rights, he just assumes them.

 

Also, the argument that self-ownership ==> property rights more generally is similarly flawed.

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William replied on Fri, May 27 2011 8:53 PM

I agree with it being bad argument, but I don't think that many libertarians take it all that seriously.  Just a few...and probably less now than three years ago....and probably even less 3 years from now than today will probably care.  I think more people like to start arguments against it than for it; kind of one of those philosophical whipping boys, like Plato,  Descartes, free will, natural rights, Hegel, etc.  Probably just best to let a bad thing die out on its own.

"I am not an ego along with other egos, but the sole ego: I am unique. Hence my wants too are unique, and my deeds; in short, everything about me is unique" Max Stirner
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Coase replied on Fri, May 27 2011 9:00 PM

I like your style, William.

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Eric080 replied on Fri, May 27 2011 9:10 PM

I haven't studied Hoppe's arguments in depth, but I've read the basic summaries of them and I'm unimpressed.  But do the same criticisms apply to Habermas' discourse ethics?  I haven't seen his arguments trashed as much, but obviously that's because I peruse libertarian-themed sites a great deal more than anything else.

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William replied on Fri, May 27 2011 9:14 PM

Haven't read him (Habermas), but honestly I am a bit confused how the words "argumentation/discourse" and the word "ethic" can be squished together to form a coherent concept.  The two words in themselves are incompatible as a coherent way to think of a description of reality.  I think with all this stuff people just want to talk about abstract non extant legal theory or something and than throw the word "ethic" into it to add some lofty pretentious weight on the matter.

Really if you use the phrase "argumentation ethics" it sounds like "argumentation aesthetics" to me, which is a silly silly thought.

P.S. Thanks Coase, I'm flattered

"I am not an ego along with other egos, but the sole ego: I am unique. Hence my wants too are unique, and my deeds; in short, everything about me is unique" Max Stirner
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DD5 replied on Fri, May 27 2011 9:16 PM

And I'm really unimpressed by any of the objections raised here thus far.  Do any of you have some concrete objections that can actually be presented in an argument, or is this just another thread about trashing and mocking what people don't understand.

 

 

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William replied on Fri, May 27 2011 9:25 PM

 Do any of you have some concrete objections that can actually be presented in an argument

No.  I'll just carry on with my day to day affairs and let the argumentation or estopple ethicist go on about how I am being good or evil, or always "misrepresenting their postion" and see how that goes.

"I am not an ego along with other egos, but the sole ego: I am unique. Hence my wants too are unique, and my deeds; in short, everything about me is unique" Max Stirner
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Phaedros replied on Fri, May 27 2011 9:31 PM

"The two words in themselves are incompatible as a coherent way to think of a description of reality. "

Reality's hard

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Coase replied on Fri, May 27 2011 9:33 PM

DD5,

 

Hoppe demonstrates "control". He assumes "right" follows from this. I want to quote him, but its hard to quote an argument he faked to make.

 

Eric,

 

Bwuh?

 

Phaedros,

 

So is standing in the light cast by William.

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Eric080 replied on Fri, May 27 2011 9:47 PM

It seems to me that Hoppe extrapolates too much.  You could do a type of grain argument and say, "sure, when arguing I accept that you own yourself and the words that come out, but this is only useful in argumentation because it keeps the peace while we express ideas amongst ourselves and we both desire peace when arguing."  But again, recognizing that you own yourself doesn't imply that, in a given circumstance, that denying your right to self-ownership can't a "good" thing.  Obviously utilitarians are going to take issue with this.

 

A criminal exerts control over his self as well, but does that mean you can't punish him in a way that denies his right to self-ownership?  Hoppe is just pointing out that we are in control of ourselves, but this is an ontological statement and has nothing to do with the ethical question of, "when should the rights of others supercede our individual self-ownership?"

 

On the other side, it still has a million issues to deal with in terms of metaethics, that being the legitimacy of moral claims in the first place.

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DD5 replied on Fri, May 27 2011 10:30 PM

Eric080:
But again, recognizing that you own yourself doesn't imply that, in a given circumstance, that denying your right to self-ownership can't a "good" thing.

This isn't Hoppe's argument.  And nothing in the rest of your post gives any indication that  you have even begun to understand, let alone grasp, Hoppe's argument.

 

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DD5 replied on Fri, May 27 2011 10:36 PM

Coase:
He assumes "right" follows from this. I want to quote him,

Please go ahead, if not for me then for the benefit of the children here, and quote him.  I want to see where he "makes the leap" by a mere "assumption".

 

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Coase replied on Fri, May 27 2011 10:49 PM

There's nothing to quote. How would you say that he argues control ==> rights?

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Eric080 replied on Fri, May 27 2011 11:09 PM

He's saying it's a performative contradiction to deny libertarian ethics.  I'm suggesting that recognition of solving discourse by using peace and acknowledging that discourse is the opposite of force doesn't seem to entail that there can be no circumstances where a "right" of somebody else is subordinate to your right to self-ownership or that violence is a priori unjustified (as in the case of something like stealing from somebody to buy a starving man a piece of bread, a violation of the store-owner's Lockean property rights).  Can you explain how my concern is misguided?  Because I'm apparently too stupid to understand the nuance cool.

 

I basically agree with this piece written by Brainpolice:

 

The argument that "self-ownership" is implicitly proven via the act of argumentation itself is a confused misnomer because it conflates the fact that you excersize control over your person with "self-ownership" as an ethical concept, I.E. "self-ownership" as the idea that your person should not be controlled by others. These are two entirely different questions - "self-ownership" in the former sense is ontological, while "self-ownership" in the latter sense is ethical.

There is no way to directly and absolutely derive one from the other - the fact that I purposefully act, in and of itself, does not prove that others ought to not interfere with my action. At best, all it proves is that I purposefully act. Nor does the fact that I purposefully act inherently imply that I share a particular ethical theory of justified action (namely, an explicitly libertarian ethic of personal sovereignty).

Obviously, "self-ownership" in the ethical sense is not an ontological given, otherwise the world would inherently be libertarian already. Hence, "self-ownership" in the libertarian sense in by no means some sort of unavoidable fact of nature, since it is regularly transgressed upon. People might all purposefully act, but they do not have "full self-ownership" in the sense of a personal sovereignty from interference with their person by others.

The same goes for "property rights". The fact that someone owns something in and of itself is not "property rights", it's simply ownership. The fact that someone currently owns something, in and of itself, is not a "proof of property rights" - unless your notion of "property rights" is "might makes right" or something along those lines. Clearly, libertarians do not wish to propose that "might makes right", so this is rather confusing.

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DD5 replied on Fri, May 27 2011 11:12 PM

Coase:
There's nothing to quote.

Yeah, I thought so.

It is becoming the the norm here.  People making false claims.  And when challenged, they start to litterally resort to bluffs like this is some kind of a poker game with money on the line and a reputation to maintain.  

 

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I actually agree with Hoppe.

If one desires to resolve conflicts peaceably by way of rational argument, then one must recognise some kind of basic self-ownership, i.e. a right to some individual control over one's own body. If one does not care to resolve conflicts peaceably by way of rational argument, then one probably isn't interested in ethics at all -- argument would be futile; rights to self-ownership irrelevant. At least, this is what I think Hoppe is saying. Hard to tell sometimes.

I am not so sure about some of Hoppe's "deductions" from this principle, however.

A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.
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Coase replied on Fri, May 27 2011 11:25 PM

I pretty much agree with Eric and Brainpolice's takes.

 

DD5,

 

Pardon me for not being able to prove a negative. Shall I quote the entirety of everything Hoppe has ever written or said? Proving me wrong should be easy--if I'm wrong.

 

Modus Tollens,

 

That seems more like a proof that self-ownership is a useful problem-solving tool--duh. But there's no performative contradiction or ethical theory of rights following from it.

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DD5 replied on Sat, May 28 2011 12:22 AM

Eric080:
Can you explain how my concern is misguided? 

Well, first of all, that post was quite different from your previous one asserting that hoppe' argument is about determining what is good or not good.

 

Eric080:
.....  or that violence is a priori unjustified 

To be sure, we are not talking about mere assertions and claims about what is good or bad (derived from an "ought") but about justification, which implies the use of argumentation.  However, self-ownership and property rights have been shown to be logically derived presuppositions of argumentation itself.  This means that the justification of any alternative set of ethics always results in a logical contradiction.

Now, let's say we can reduce the argument to just 3 logical steps:  Argumentation=>self-ownership=>libertarian property rights

Hoppe demonstrates each step by  showing that any objection always results in self-contradiction.  Now, it seems to me that if one wants to show that the argument is false, one must simply demonstrate how arguing against each or one of these steps does not result in a self-contradiction.  Writing long stories about why one does not agree with its conclusions (Brainpolice) without addressing the actual praxeological reasoning at its core is no refutation.

 

 

 

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DD5 replied on Sat, May 28 2011 12:31 AM

Coase:
Pardon me for not being able to prove a negative.

You made an assertion:  Hoppe makes a leap, Hoppe merely assumes......

The burden of proof lies with you, making the claim that such leaps and assumptions by Hoppe do  exist.  I believe that's proving a positive, and  you are actually asking me to prove the negative, i.e., prove that Hoppe is not making mere assumptions, etc...  Which by the way, can indeed be proven and should at least demonstrate to you that one can indeed prove a negative.

 

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MrSchnapps replied on Sat, May 28 2011 12:36 AM

Which by the way, can indeed be proven and also demonstrates to you that one can indeed prove a negative.

Agreed, I'm not sure how this gets bandied around. Simple reflection shows that negatives are, indeed, provable.

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Conza88 replied on Sat, May 28 2011 1:03 AM

The quality on these forums has taken an absolute nose dive.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Clayton replied on Sat, May 28 2011 1:20 AM

My objection to Hoppe's argumentation ethics is that I think he jumps the gun on the law market and implicitly engages in would-be central-planning of law (dispute-resolution). I do not mean to suggest that Hoppe is a socialist, of course, merely that he cannot consistently hold his argumentation ethics position and hold for free markets in every industry (including law) since the argumentation ethics position entails central-planning of law.

As mentioned in this blog post, where Hoppe goes wrong is conflating positive and normative concepts of property. The economic definition of property is purely positive and has use only insofar as it helps the economist define the meaning of scarcity, exchange, and so on. Property rights, however, are normative (by definition) and cannot possibly follow from praxeological axioms without denying that valuation is subjective (in other words, morality is a sub-category of valuation, which is subjective, therefore, moral sentiments - should/shouldn't - cannot follow from objective, praxeological axioms). The normative sense of property rights emerges not from economics but from law, specifically, from the real resolution of disputes over property boundaries. I believe that, for the same reason no one can derive "the true price of apples" from analytical argument, no one can derive "the true rules of property" from analytical argument. It is my view that to assert otherwise is tantamount to central-planning of law - rather than waiting to see what sorts of rules of people property freely agree to in the settlement of their property disputes, we are simply stating at the outset that the rules of property must be thus and so.

Clayton -

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Yes, the quality has taken a nose-dive because there is more ideological diversity and less people accepting theories that flat out mean nothing for real-world policies. 

 

Until someone can prove how argumentation ethics objectifies ethical values, I'll just ignore those who support it as a theory of ethics.

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FunkedUp replied on Sat, May 28 2011 5:36 AM

Hoppe acknowledges that truth seeking has a normative foundation, and that the ought/is paradigm contains two different entities - belonging to entirely different realms of thought, which cannot be reconciled. As such, property is a normative concept - he admits this; Hoppe is not concerned with unifying the fact/value dichotomy (See quote below). However, he goes to great lengths to show that anyone arguing against the private property ethic is committing a performative contradiction; much like anyone denying the action axiom. 

I don't understand why people don't accept the validity of this. Justifying any ethic requires argumentation. Do you deny this? Do you deny that argumentation is a cognitive affair? Do you deny that argumentation, as a form of action, requires the exclusive use of scarce resources? Do you deny that argumentation requires an arguing individual and that there are practical preconditions that stem from this? 

There's a reason why Rothbard thought Hoppe's theory was groundbreaking. I think most of you are not aware of the depth of his argument. To understand it, you really need an in-depth understanding of K.O Apel and Jurgen Habermas and their theories on discourse ethics; Hoppe's argument is just an anarcho-Lockean extension. 

Clayton:

My objection to Hoppe's argumentation ethics is that I think he jumps the gun on the law market and implicitly engages in would-be central-planning of law (dispute-resolution). I do not mean to suggest that Hoppe is a socialist, of course, merely that he cannot consistently hold his argumentation ethics position and hold for free markets in every industry (including law) since the argumentation ethics position entails central-planning of law.

As mentioned in this blog post, where Hoppe goes wrong is conflating positive and normative concepts of property. The economic definition of property is purely positive and has use only insofar as it helps the economist define the meaning of scarcity, exchange, and so on. Property rights, however, are normative (by definition) and cannot possibly follow from praxeological axioms without denying that valuation is subjective (in other words, morality is a sub-category of valuation, which is subjective, therefore, moral sentiments - should/shouldn't - cannot follow from objective, praxeological axioms). The normative sense of property rights emerges not from economics but from law, specifically, from the real resolution of disputes over property boundaries. I believe that, for the same reason no one can derive "the true price of apples" from analytical argument, no one can derive "the true rules of property" from analytical argument. It is my view that to assert otherwise is tantamount to central-planning of law - rather than waiting to see what sorts of rules of people property freely agree to in the settlement of their property disputes, we are simply stating at the outset that the rules of property must be thus and so.

Clayton -

Good criticism. However, I do believe Hoppe addresses your concerns in his writings (albeit using different terms). See: On the Ultimate Justification of the Ethics of Private Property; specifically the last paragraph.

Second, there is the logical gap between “is-” and “ought-statements” which natural rights proponents have failed to bridge successfully—except for advancing some general critical remarks regarding the ultimate validity of the fact-value dichotomy. Here the praxeological proof of libertarianism has the advantage of offering a completely value-free justification of private property. It remains entirely in the realm of is-statements and never tries to derive an “ought” from an “is.” The structure of the argument is this: (a) justification is propositional justification—a priori true is-statement; (b) argumentation presupposes property in one’s body and the homesteading principle—a priori true is statement; and (c) then, no deviation from this ethic can be argumentatively justified—a priori true is-statement. The proof also offers a key to an understanding of the nature of the fact-value dichotomy: Ought-statements cannot be derived from is- statements. They belong to different logical realms. It is also clear, however, that one cannot even state that there are facts and values if no propositional exchanges exist, and that this practice of propositional exchanges in turn presupposes the acceptance of the private property ethic as valid. In other words, cognition and truth-seeking as such have a normative foundation, and the normative foundation on which cognition and truth rest is the recognition of private property rights.

Taking that paragraph into context, I don't really see any contradiction between the view that you hold and his view. Remember, Hoppe is just concerned with exposing anyone arguing against the private property ethic as walking and living contradictions. 

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Coase replied on Sat, May 28 2011 11:22 AM

Clayton,

 

It feels like your critique is essentially an intelligent version of mine--that Hoppe provides no argument for control ==> rights. Do you disagree?

 

DD5,

 

Oy vey. Listen: the only way I can prove my point is by quoting everything Hoppe has ever written and said. Or, you could prove me wrong by quoting the single paragraph where he makes an argument for control ==> rights. Or just summarize his argument. Or, insist on me quoting everything Hoppe has ever said. That makes much more sense. I'll go prove Santa Claus doesn't exist when I'm at it.

 

MrSchnapps,

 

You can logically prove negatives. But empirical questions are another matter.

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Besides the problems with the very concept of self ownership, is there a reason that argumentation ethics are universalized?  So in the course argumentation, I could recognize my self-ownership and your self-ownership, but how does it follow that I must recognize anyone elses?

 

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z1235 replied on Sat, May 28 2011 3:22 PM

FYI, there was a vigorous and long debate on this subject some time ago in another thread here (starting from page 4). Good times.  

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Loppu replied on Sat, May 28 2011 5:15 PM

Could someone tell me what is the book where Hoppe presents his argumentation ethics and defends it etc.?

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FunkedUp replied on Sun, May 29 2011 5:22 AM

 

mikachusetts:

Besides the problems with the very concept of self ownership, is there a reason that argumentation ethics are universalized?  So in the course argumentation, I could recognize my self-ownership and your self-ownership, but how does it follow that I must recognize anyone elses?

Justifying any ethic requires that it be proposed and defended in argumentation. It follows that any ethic or rights theory must be universal because anyone engaging in argumentation must be able to be convinced of the argument simply because of it's argumentative force; the "unforced force of the better argument prevails."  As a result of this, even if there is disagreement in the argument, at least there can be agreement on the fact that there is disagreement. This explains the universal principle, which is essentially the "Golden Rule of Ethics" (i.e., Do onto other as they would do onto you..etc) Anything else just leads to relativism, which essentially means that there is no ultimate good and no ultimate bad - exactly what socialists what to hear.

Furthermore, it doesn't follow that you have to recognize anyone's property rights. Clearly some people have not. However, if one truly didn't believe in private property rights, then one would not argue anything at all (argumentation is a form of action requiring the exclusive use of scarce means; argumentation as such implies the acceptance of private property rights). A socialist trying to argumentatively justify a rights theory is already presupposing several norms by engaging in argumentation.  

As stated before, arguing in favor of any ethic that deviates from the private property ethic is a performative contradiction. This is what Hoppe is concerned with.

Loppu:

Could someone tell me what is the book where Hoppe presents his argumentation ethics and defends it etc.?

Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (his first elaboration of the theory I believe), The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (several articles make reference to argumentation ethics). The Ultimate Justification of Private Property. Stephen Kinsella has also written a bunch of articles on the subject. 

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FunkedUp:
Justifying any ethic requires that it be proposed and defended in argumentation. It follows that any ethic or rights theory must be universal because anyone engaging in argumentation must be able to be convinced of the argument simply because of it's argumentative force; the "unforced force of the better argument prevails."

I really don't see how it follows.  The ethic doesn't need to be universal because I am not arguing with all people.  If there is at least one person who doesn't involve themselves in argumentation regarding property, then the ethic isn't universal but rather specific to certain discourses. Additionally, it would not be a performative contradiction for me to argue in favor of property with everyone who I ever argue with, but stipulate that anyone who I don't discuss this with should be stripped of their property. 

 

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FunkedUp replied on Sun, May 29 2011 7:45 AM

mikachusetts:
 I really don't see how it follows.  The ethic doesn't need to be universal because I am not arguing with all people. If there is at least one person who doesn't involve themselves in argumentation regarding property, then the ethic isn't universal but rather specific to certain discourses.  

This is similar to a positivist maintaining that "all knowledge must be derived from experience." A good research project for you would be to go out and argue with every single person in this world, so you can find out whether or not an ethic must be justified in the course of argumentation. 

mikachusetts:
 Additionally, it would not be a performative contradiction for me to argue in favor of property with everyone who I ever argue with, but stipulate that anyone who I don't discuss this with should be stripped of their property. 

I'm not sure I understand this. Could you clarify? Again, it doesn't matter if the propositional content of your argument favors private property or not. Rather it is argumentation as such, that implies property rights - regardless of what is being said. 

 
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FunkedUp:
mikachusetts:
 I really don't see how it follows.  The ethic doesn't need to be universal because I am not arguing with all people. If there is at least one person who doesn't involve themselves in argumentation regarding property, then the ethic isn't universal but rather specific to certain discourses.  

This is similar to a positivist maintaining that "all knowledge must be derived from experience." A good research project for you would be to go out and argue with every single person in this world, so you can find out whether or not an ethic must be justified in the course of argumentation.

I wasn't making an empirical point but a logical one: if something is true for one member of the set, it is not necessarily true for all members of the set.  Argumentation ethics is only meaningful when one commits a performative contradiction which can only happen during the course of arguing.  On these grounds, any conclusions derived from AE would only apply to those who participate in such arguments and not all people. 

mikachusetts:
 Additionally, it would not be a performative contradiction for me to argue in favor of property with everyone who I ever argue with, but stipulate that anyone who I don't discuss this with should be stripped of their property. 

I'm not sure I understand this. Could you clarify? Again, it doesn't matter if the propositional content of your argument favors private property or not. Rather it is argumentation as such, that implies property rights - regardless of what is being said.

The propositional content of my argument DOES matter, because the presupposition of property alone doesn't prove a property based ethic.  AE rests on the grounds that when I argue against property, I contradict myself because in arguing I am also presuming property. 

My point is that the presumption of property only applies to myself and whomever I'm arguing with, and that it would not be contradictory to deny property based ethics to anyone who is outside of our conversation. 

 

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Lyle replied on Sun, May 29 2011 8:19 AM

I haven't read much into the Argumentation Ethics of Hoppe, but from Kinsella's article it sounds like Hoppe is trying to give Lockean private property theory, upon which Rothbard bases his natural rights theory, an absolute, rather than relativist, foundation.  I think, therefore I am, so to speak.  I argue, therefore I am the owner of myself.  It is absolute.  Rothbard then picks up from Hoppe's now absolute view of Lockean Private Property to develop a natural rights based on Private Property (self-ownership).  Therefore, Self-Ownership isn't only a logical conclusion.  Because it is absolute, it is an ethic as well.

Am I understanding Hoppe's Argumentation Ethic correctly?  From Reason to Ethic by process of Argumentation (Basically, Hoppe is giving us cause for accepting Lockean theory of property as THE basis upon which to develop a natural rights ethic.  He is justifying Rothbard in chosing Locke as a foundation for a natural rights ethic.  Some might ask "WHY should we base natural rights on Locke's theory of property and not some other theory?"  Hoppe's argumentation ethics is the answer.)

Also, isn't Hoppe arguing that self-ownership is not demonstrated necessarily in one's ability to act but in one's ability to argue (have an opinion contrary to that of which is approved)?   That one may be a slave in person, one can never be a slave in mind and, therefore, self-ownership is demonstrated in the very fact that we determine what we will think even when we are denied the ability to determine how we will act.

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Lyle replied on Sun, May 29 2011 8:50 AM

Clayton:

I don't think Hoppe is trying to create a "central planning of law" as much as he is trying to create a "standardization of law" through the process of argumentation.  Standardization can happen, and frequently does so, in a free market.  Central Planning is not necessary. 

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Lyle:
Also, isn't Hoppe arguing that self-ownership is not demonstrated necessarily in one's ability to act but in one's ability to argue (have an opinion contrary to that of which is approved)?   That one may be a slave in person, one can never be a slave in mind and, therefore, self-ownership is demonstrated in the very fact that we determine what we will think even when we are denied the ability to determine how we will act.

Not quite.  Its more along the lines that argumention as a type of action automatically presupposes certain conditions when it takes place.  One of Hoppe's examples would be the statement: "people are and always shall be indifferent towrds doing things."  In making that very statement I am actually showing prefence by virtue of my action (I said that instead of something else) and thus make the statement false.  Hoppe takes that non-contraversial idea further into contraversial territory by saying that argumentation pressuposes private property in the form of self-ownership which leads to homesteading, making the statement "I don't support/believe in/advocate property" false on the same charges.

they said we would have an unfair fun advantage

"enough about human rights. what about whale rights?" -moondog
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z1235 replied on Sun, May 29 2011 9:52 AM

z1235:

FYI, there was a vigorous and long debate on this subject some time ago in another thread here (starting from page 4). Good times.  

Again, I strongly recommend going through the thread I linked to above. Plenty of angles and references on the subject which have likely already covered any points being raised here. 

 

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 It sounds like the whole hypothesis is based off the equivocation of the word control with property.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

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I do not think Hoppe is equivocating control and property, though I understand why it seems that way.

Let me put it another way. If one believes that ethical problems and moral conflicts should be addressed by rational argument rather than violence, then one must support norms which recognise some kind of self-ownership, i.e. property rights. If such norms are not enforced, then rational argument about ethical problems and moral conflicts is effectively impossible.

Hoppe is not saying that we control ourselves, therefore we own ourselves. There are about five different fallacies that might qualify as an example of.  He is saying something like: if we are interested in resolving disagreements and conficts of interest peaceably, then we must establish norms which enforce self-ownership, recognise property, etc.

However, I am not sure about Hoppe's "deductions" from this principle. He seems to want to argue that all manner of libertarian property rights are inextircably bound up in this principle as logical consequences. Maybe. Certainly they are related. I don't really buy it. Perhaps I am being more charitable to Hoppe than he deserves (which is actually unlike me).

A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.
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Clayton replied on Sun, May 29 2011 12:35 PM

Modus Tollens:

I do not think Hoppe is equivocating control and property, though I understand why it seems that way.

Let me put it another way. If one believes that ethical problems and moral conflicts should be addressed by rational argument rather than violence, then one must support norms which recognise some kind of self-ownership, i.e. property rights. If such norms are not enforced, then rational argument about ethical problems and moral conflicts is effectively impossible.

Hoppe is not saying that we control ourselves, therefore we own ourselves. There are about five different fallacies that might qualify as an example of.  He is saying something like: if we are interested in resolving disagreements and conficts of interest peaceably, then we must establish norms which enforce self-ownership, recognise property, etc.

However, I am not sure about Hoppe's "deductions" from this principle. He seems to want to argue that all manner of libertarian property rights are inextircably bound up in this principle as logical consequences. Maybe. Certainly they are related. I don't really buy it. Perhaps I am being more charitable to Hoppe than he deserves (which is actually unlike me).

Conflict - in the Austrian view - is always over property since scarcity is a precondition to conflict. I think this, in itself, is partly where Austrian analysis gets a little off course since the abundance of a good is presumed to make conflict over that good impossible when this is analytically and empirically not true. Even in the Garden of Eden, there can be conflict over abundant goods since I may insist on having the apple which you are holding in your hand. Now, you can shift the definitions and say, "Well, the apple I am holding in my hand is scarce even though apples per se are not scarce" but that's just avoiding the point which is that conflict is possible through sheer perversity or pugnaciousness even in a state of abundance. The strict definition of conflict is useful for the analysis of the (positive) economic problem but it is not useful for the normative problem.

If you think of two disputants sitting at a negotiating table, the meaning of Argumentation Ethics - if true - is that all participants in the dispute must accept and cannot deny libertarian ethics, at least insofar as libertarian ethics are implied from the undeniability of self-ownership. This is obviously not true, a point that David Friedman makes in other words here. But as I pointed out in my earlier post, rules of property have emerged just fine without a rigorous, Crusoean justification for property. This is because the industry of dispute-resolution does not require an analytical foundation in order to function (resolve disputes) anymore than the industry of apple-growing requires a rigorous foundation in plant biology in order to function. I see the attempt to impose a rigorous foundation as implicit central-planning of law - another poster called it "standardization" which is precisely what central-planners always term their own central-planning.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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"I don't understand why people don't accept the validity of this."

Because they don't understand it.

Plz people: If you are going to argue against something like this, study it and try to understand it first. Read what Hoppe has actually written on the subject.

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