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Argumentation Ethics is Bad Argumentation

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Robert_Ronngren:

"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.

So, let me get this straight, all people that do not accept this as valid is because they dont understand it, according to you? I hope that is not what you meant because that is a logical fallacy on your part.

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Merlin replied on Mon, May 30 2011 8:39 AM

I myself never used it and never will. All it can hope to prove is that any other system but full property rights would be unthinkable. As other systems are indeed thinkable, the argument is pointless.

A shame that a deep and original thinker as Hoppe is credited first and foremost with this teory above all his other truly greta contributions.

The Regression theorem is a memetic equivalent of the Theory of Evolution. To say that the former precludes the free emergence of fiat currencies makes no more sense that to hold that the latter precludes the natural emergence of multicellular organisms.
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FunkedUp replied on Mon, May 30 2011 12:56 PM

One thing for sure, is that Hoppe has not done a very good job of articulating his argument in a single piece. Much of his case for argumentation ethics is spread out across multiple articles that all contain different elements. I hope that he clears this up in a single piece in his magnum opus that he is supposedly working on. I've heard that he was basing it off of his economy, society, and history lectures; does anyone have any insight into this?

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I was going to make a thread about Hoppe and his retirement, but I might as well ask my questions here. Does Hoppe still speak at LvM events? I see above that Hoppe is working on his magnum opus, but does he contribute articles or essays for other publications? Has Hoppe written on his religious views, if so, what are they and where can they be found?

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FunkedUp replied on Mon, May 30 2011 1:21 PM

 

Scrooge McDuck:

I was going to make a thread about Hoppe and his retirement, but I might as well ask my questions here. Does Hoppe still speak at LvM events? I see above that Hoppe is working on his magnum opus, but does he contribute articles or essays for other publications? Has Hoppe written on his religious views, if so, what are they and where can they be found?

I'm unaware of any piece where Hoppe personally discusses his religious views, but in the Economy, Society, and History lectures he does have a discussion on religion, which kind of gives you insight to what he thinks. 
 
http://mises.org/media/1277/The-Wealth-of-Nations-Ideology-Religion-Biology-and-Environment
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Anenome replied on Mon, Jul 18 2011 12:18 PM

mikachusetts:
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.

Except that the principle is extensible to any person that could argue, ie: all people. Unless you can give a reason why it isn't infinitely extendable or an example of a person who could engage in an argument without affirming property rights by doing so then you must admit that it's a universal principle.

In the same way, the laws of logic cannot be argued against because you must appeal to the laws of logic in any attempt to refute them. This seems to be Hoppe's attempt to extend the rock-solid protection the laws of logic have to the fact of self-ownership and property rights, and I think it's a good one.

As for how self-ownership turns into rights, I would say that self-ownership is a fact of nature, it is the nature of humanity for each individual to control themselves--just as no one but the individual can mentally command their arm to move.

Rights come into the equation when we add a second human being, meaning rights are social phenomena. The question is whether the rights a community crafts will recognize the nature of humanity, that being self-ownership, or seek to contravene them.

Since the only moral and ethical kind of right is one that does not use coercion between individuals to achieve its aim, we must say that only recognizing the right of an individual to self-ownership is the only rational choice. Especially when the alternative is to open to door to coercion, and thereby tyranny.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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Conza88 replied on Tue, Jul 19 2011 12:22 AM

Argument from ignorance.

Go read EEPP.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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z1235 replied on Tue, Jul 19 2011 7:45 AM

Anenome:
Except that the principle is extensible to any person that could argue, ie: all people. Unless you can give a reason why it isn't infinitely extendable or an example of a person who could engage in an argument without affirming property rights by doing so then you must admit that it's a universal principle.

How would you argue the supposedly inferior ethics of my suggestion that I ought to own you and your property if I win a game of chess against you? Seems logical, consistent, and universal (applies to all humans equally). 

As for how self-ownership turns into rights, I would say that self-ownership is a fact of nature, it is the nature of humanity for each individual to control themselves--just as no one but the individual can mentally command their arm to move.

I (the master) could also command you and you could obey, naturally and ethically so, because I won the chess game and you lost.

Since the only moral and ethical kind of right is one that does not use coercion between individuals to achieve its aim, we must say that only recognizing the right of an individual to self-ownership is the only rational choice. Especially when the alternative is to open to door to coercion, and thereby tyranny.

Values are subjective, and tyranny is subjectively preferred by tyrants, especially if they're good at chess. 

 

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Anenome:
mikachusetts:
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.

Except that the principle is extensible to any person that could argue, ie: all people. Unless you can give a reason why it isn't infinitely extendable or an example of a person who could engage in an argument without affirming property rights by doing so then you must admit that it's a universal principle.

I think you misunderstand the nature of Hoppe's proof.  You would be correct if the argument was:

  • When people argue they assume property rights
  • All people are capable of arguing
  • Therefore private property ethics are correct

But thats not a valid argument.  Its just an assertion that propertarian ethics are true because people act like they are.  Hoppe's actual argument is:

  • When people argue they assume property rights for the people involved
  • making an ethical prescription which attempts to deny property rights to the people involved results in a performative contradiction
  • Therefore it is logically impossible to argue against propertarian ethics

The universal nature of the conclusion has no basis in the argument; the entire proof has been constructed around an assumption that only applies to the people involved in the argument.  When you and I argue I assume property rights in you and me, not in every person on the planet.  Therefore, it is logically consistent to argue that everyone but eskimos has a right to property because I am not arguing with an eskimo. 

they said we would have an unfair fun advantage

"enough about human rights. what about whale rights?" -moondog
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Anenome replied on Thu, Aug 4 2011 12:04 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong here but my understanding of the way in which people assume property rights when they argue is based on the nature of all people.

That is, in order to argue anything you must control and own yourself, your own body, as a property that you solely control.

Thus it's inconceivable that any person could argue against property rights without at the same time affirming them.

In the same way, one cannot argue against the laws of logic without relying upon them, thus we take them as irrefutable primaries, as givens proved by their very nature and their inescapability.

Property rights too are inescapable, for it is the nature of every person to own and control themselves. It is inconceivable that any person could use their body to argue against property rights for in doing so they affirm that the very body that they use is owned by them.

Beyond this, every time a person eats they affirm the necessity of individual and sole ownership of physical property--for each person must requistion to their sole use and disposal food in order to continue living. You cannot consume corporately, no one can consume for you, your body must access physical property for its sole use or you die.

 

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Semi-OT to Clayton:

 

You might enjoy this paper I recently read on Hayek.  I think it will add to your analysis of how dispute resolution emerged.

 

http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_15_01_2_boykin.pdf

"In Hayek’s view, the mechanics of the separation of powers will limit intervention in market and cultural competition only where the evolved opinion in a society regarding justice demands limited government. Deliberate constitutional design can place opinion in a position to curtail intervention and leave room for competitive social processes, but constitutional planning is no substitute for evolved beliefs that limit government’s authority. Although constitutional design can facilitate and take advantage of spontaneous order, cultural evolution, which is a type of generation of spontaneous order, ultimately determines the constraints on public power."

 

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AJ replied on Thu, Aug 4 2011 4:34 AM

Sounds like a great thesis by Hayek, and I'm sure z1235 would agree. As to arg. ethics, I feel like more and more people are waking up to arguments that hinge on equivocation and other semantic oddities that inevitably result when a thinker is not fully aware of the pitfalls of natural language and the level of rigor in communication needed to overcome them.

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z1235 replied on Thu, Aug 4 2011 9:25 AM

AJ, agreed. The following quote from that paper exactly describes my position on the source of morality/ethics/norms:

"The natural selection of cultural rules is another instance of spontaneous order. Hayek contends that cultural evolution proceeds through a group selection process in which rules conducing to productivity spread at the expense of less-efficient practices. A group that observes better-adapted rules can support a larger population, so its practices displace other practices as it grows and as members of competing groups adopt these more effective behaviors."

 

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Anenome replied on Thu, Aug 11 2011 4:03 PM

z1235:

AJ, agreed. The following quote from that paper exactly describes my position on the source of morality/ethics/norms:

"The natural selection of cultural rules is another instance of spontaneous order. Hayek contends that cultural evolution proceeds through a group selection process in which rules conducing to productivity spread at the expense of less-efficient practices. A group that observes better-adapted rules can support a larger population, so its practices displace other practices as it grows and as members of competing groups adopt these more effective behaviors."

How is that the "source" of ethics/norms? Spontaneous order as the source of ethics and norms? Isn't that ethical relativism?

I'd say a property-ownership based ethic has a much greater chance of being both philosophically justifiable and universally applicable.

Tha main problem I see is that societies simply don't observe other societies and import their practices because they work, even when they work. Cultures have strong reinforcment mechanisms, even when that culture is failing.

Has observing the prosperity and wealth of the West yet convinced North Korea to abandon communism--even while its people starve? It has not. The human ability to rationalize is perhaps limitless. The North Koreans tell themselves that they are protecting the South from the imperilism of America, and that they are the protectors of the Koreans, and the South buys its propsperity by colluding with the enemy.

There's no serious analysis of what's actually happening, there's little but propaganda.

Beyond which, merely importing certain practices is not as important as understanding the principles behind why those actions work--else we end up with little more than economic cargo-cults!

No, what's needed is a consistent, principled defense of capitalism which can spread in intellectual circles. That plus the testimony of history should be enough for anyone.

The real problem with capitalism today is that we know it works but we don't know all the principles behind why it works--and its advocates are not effective advocates in explaining those principles and defending them as ethical.

In fact, the only thing close to the kind of cultural evolution Hayek contends for here is represented by Japan in the after the Meiji restoration, and modern China abandoning the economics of communism in favor of fascism. But did China go all the way to free market capitalism? Nope. And Japan had a centuries long tradition of cultural importation that other cultures lack wholly.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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Clayton replied on Thu, Aug 11 2011 9:25 PM

Plaxco: Nice find.

"Cultural evolution generates a people’s “sense of justice,” which is the predominant opinion in a society concerning what kinds of conduct are acceptable."

I think this is a key point but I think it needs to be tied to how it feeds into the formal production of dispute-resolution (law). Culture - as ultimately expressed in ideas - is what determines whether a population can be systematically exploited. A population that does not accept rulership can be destroyed by a powerful ruler but not systematically exploited.

There are certain cultural prerequisites to law in order for private law - or something roughly resembling private law - to emerge. The State can only be a successful monopolist of law if cultural ideas that would make monopolization of law impossible are not too prevalent in the culture.

For example, in Somali law (Xeer), "only the victim of violence, or his family, can start a criminal procedure." (Here, 5.2) This might seem like a minor point but it actually has massive implications. If a "concerned citizen" may start legal action, then a group of such "concerned citizens" may start legal action. And if the defendant of said legal action happens to be a business competitor of said "concerned citizens", then you have just opened the door to cartelization and monopolization - leading ultimately to a State once law and security are monopolized. But the acceptability or non-acceptability of lawsuit by non-victims/non-family-of-victims is a cultural or meta-legal concern; it is prior to law. As can be seen by contrasting Western law with Xeer, even small differences in the details can lead to utterly different law systems and economies.

The rules of Xeer are part and parcel of why the UN has failed for over two decades in repeated attempts to yoke Somalia under a national government. Xeer is inherently decentralized and inherently resistant to attempts to centralize or form cartels.

Clayton -

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hashem replied on Fri, Aug 12 2011 1:11 AM

I think he does a pretty good job in Economic Science and the Austrian Method, although you wouldn't know from the title. If I get a moment I'll try to pinpoint it, but I'm almost positive theres an full chapter devoted entirely to it, maybe it's the chapter before the last. I've often wondered where to find his best explanation, and that's where I've found the clearest explanation of it, and sure enough it's basically what you've been saying.

Unfortunately, I don't think a single one of the opponents of this theory have ever actually studied it, which is why they never argue against a specific quote from him in context, or they assume he must have made a mistake somewhere. Argument from ignorance is no excuse, neither are the red herrings being thrown about (i.e. the claim that Hoppe's argumentation ethic "is control ==> rights". That just demonstrates that you don't know Hoppes case and are therefore unqualified to debunk it or really to even talk about it.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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AJ replied on Sat, Aug 13 2011 4:19 AM

Anenome:

z1235:

AJ, agreed. The following quote from that paper exactly describes my position on the source of morality/ethics/norms:

"The natural selection of cultural rules is another instance of spontaneous order. Hayek contends that cultural evolution proceeds through a group selection process in which rules conducing to productivity spread at the expense of less-efficient practices. A group that observes better-adapted rules can support a larger population, so its practices displace other practices as it grows and as members of competing groups adopt these more effective behaviors."

How is that the "source" of ethics/norms? Spontaneous order as the source of ethics and norms? Isn't that ethical relativism?

The following quote from John Hasnas, who is influenced by Hayek, fleshes out the above argument and should clear up your concerns:

In the absence of civil government, most people engage in productive activity in peaceful cooperation with their fellows. Some do not. A minority engages in predation, attempting to use violence to expropriate the labor or output of others. The existence of this predatory element renders insecure the persons and possessions of those engaged in production. Further, even among the productive portion of the population, disputes arise concerning broken agreements, questions of rightful possession, and actions that inadvertently result in personal injuries for which there is no antecedently established mechanism for resolution. In the state of nature, interpersonal conflicts that can lead to violence often arise.

What happens when they do? The existence of the predatory minority causes those engaged in productive activities to band together to institute measures for their collective security. Various methods of providing for mutual protection and for apprehending or discouraging aggressors are tried. Methods that do not provide adequate levels of security or that prove too costly are abandoned. More successful methods continue to be used. Eventually, methods that effectively discourage aggression while simultaneously minimizing the amount of retaliatory violence necessary to do so become institutionalized. Simultaneously, nonviolent alternatives for resolving interpersonal disputes among the productive members of the community are sought. Various methods are tried. Those that leave the parties unsatisfied and likely to resort again to violence are abandoned. Those that effectively resolve the disputes with the least disturbance to the peace of the community continue to be used and are accompanied by ever-increasing social pressure for disputants to employ them.

Over time, security arrangements and dispute settlement procedures that are well-enough adapted to social and material circumstances to reduce violence to generally acceptable levels become regularized. Members of the community learn what level of participation in or support for the security arrangements is required of them for the system to work and for them to receive its benefits. By rendering that level of participation or support, they come to feel entitled to the level of security the arrangements provide. After a time, they may come to speak in terms of their right to the protection of their persons and possessions against the type of depredation the security arrangements discourage, and eventually even of their rights to personal integrity and property. In addition, as the dispute settlement procedures resolve recurring forms of conflict in similar ways over time, knowledge of these resolutions becomes widely diffused and members of the community come to expect similar conflicts to be resolved in like manner. Accordingly, they alter their behavior toward other members of the community to conform to these expectations. In doing so, people begin to act in accordance with rules that identify when they must act in the interests of others (e.g., they may be required to use care to prevent their livestock from damaging their neighbors’ possessions) and when they may act exclusively in their own interests (e.g., they may be free to totally exclude their neighbors from using their possessions). To the extent that these incipient rules entitle individuals to act entirely in their own interests, individuals may come to speak in terms of their right to do so (e.g., of their right to the quiet enjoyment of their property).

In short, the inconveniences of the state of nature represent problems that human beings must overcome to lead happy and meaningful lives. In the absence of an established civil government to resolve these problems for them, human beings must do so for themselves. They do this not through coordinated collective action, but through a process of trial and error in which the members of the community address these problems in any number of ways, unsuccessful attempts to resolve them are discarded, and successful ones are repeated, copied by others, and eventually become widespread practices. As the members of the community conform their behavior to these practices, they begin to behave according to rules that specify the extent of their obligations to others, and, by implication, the extent to which they are free to act at their pleasure. Over time, these rules become invested with normative significance and the members of the community come to regard the ways in which the rules permit them to act at their pleasure as their rights. Thus, in the state of nature, rights evolve out of human beings’ efforts to address the inconveniences of that state. In the state of nature, rights are solved problems.

(Discussion continues on pg. 127. )

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HOPPE’S ARGUMENT FAILS ON ITS OWN TERMS

Before calling yourself a libertarian or an anarchist, read this.  
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hashem replied on Sat, Aug 13 2011 10:28 AM

Charles Anthony:

That article explicitly states in the introduction that readers will be unable to locate the actual arguement they purport to debunk. Rather, they provide us with their version of his argument. No thanks.

In any event, it's 9 years old...pardon me for trusting Hoppe has been dilligent enough to make improvements based on criticism, and I'd prefer to read his words over their version of what is allegedly his idea before I read their critique of it.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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So, you believe it without any proof and without even knowing what it is that you believe.  Nice. 

 

Before calling yourself a libertarian or an anarchist, read this.  
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hashem replied on Mon, Aug 15 2011 1:09 AM

So, you believe it without any proof and without even knowing what it is that you believe.  Nice.
No, I said critics of his theory aren't familiar with his actual writings on it, which you proceeded to demonstrate. You don't need to have that kind of tone just because you're a mod either.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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FunkedUp:
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.

Those are decent, but I remember someone else mentioning how there isn't really one single place where Hoppe has outlined the theory, so I figured it would be useful to include these lectures here, where he does extrapolate the whole thing:

Mises University:

"Law and Economics" (2005)

"Law and Economics" (2009)

"Property and the Social Order" (2011)

 

Then there's these resources as well.

 

Also, other threads:

The Reductio ad absurdum of argumentation ethics

Argumentation Ethics

Libertarian ethics

Phenomenology and Argumentation Ethics: Critic of Hoppe

 

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I provide a summary and guide to other reading here “Argumentation Ethics and Liberty: A Concise Guide”.

Stephan Kinsella nskinsella@gmail.com www.StephanKinsella.com

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It was discussed extensively previosly in this forum. I think you can see there the myriad of attempt to escape the simple and obvious truth of Hoppe's insights, ranging from evasion to equivocation. It is quite amazing. The most amazing part is how rejecting Hoppe's AE basically means rejecting universalizability, which means rejecting reason. But, to each his own.

Stephan Kinsella nskinsella@gmail.com www.StephanKinsella.com

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Nice to see you here, Stephan.

Here's what I don't follow...

It sounds like he saying that you own yourself, a scarce resource, because no one has a better claim on your body than you...but more specifically, because the alternatives don't lend themselves to ethics or functionality.  The first alternative to "everyone owns himself" is that some own others, while others don't own them.  Slavery.  This is invalidated by Hoppe by the notion that it violates universality...it is a rule that is only applied to some, and not equally to others.  Unethical.

Here I'm not so convinced, as he offers no concrete reason universality is necessary.  He just appeals to "ethics" and "fairness".  But here it looks as though you are saying universality is to be accepted on "reason."  Could you elaborate on this part?

 

And then, when he doesn't hold the same rule for animals, his reasoning is that the animals can't argue with you.  So basically, you are the super man so long as the opponant cannot argue.  I'm not sure where humans who are mentally or even just physically incapacitated fit into this (such as Stephan Hawking for example...who, without the technology which others have given him, wouldn't be able to argue.  Does that mean he is not subject to the rule of self ownership and rights that cannot be violated?  Or is there a "well, he could argue if it weren't for x" argument made?  That sounds quite flimsy to me.  And how about the torture of animals?).  I found Rothbard's reasoning to be more convincing, but even he makes no mention of animal torture.  It would seem that if animals have no rights, then there is virtually no justification for using force to prevent such an act.  I've seen it argued that the way to deal with such sadists is simply disassociation.  Is this really all there is?  Is there no libertarian case for preventing torture of non-human (or non-arguing) creatures?



I do agree the only other alternative to "everyone owns himself" is much more easily debunked...the notion of universal communism...that everyone owns an equal share of everyone else.  This would quite obviously bring life to a literal standstill, as no one would be able to rightfully gain permission to do anything, as Hoppe points out.

However, even conceding the universality requirment and acknowledging that people own themselves, I still don't see a clear reasoning for how this proves the logical conclusion that property rights are valid.  It all begins with the concept of scarcity and the need to avoid conflict.  Hoppe begins by explaining, that because even in the garden of eden our physical bodies and the physical space they inhabit is scarce, conflict can arise.  So the only way to resolve/avoid such conflict is by establishing the right of property, meaning I control what I own and you control what you own, and we cannot do anything to something someone else owns without their permission.  But does it need to go any deeper than that?  Is the avoidance/resolution of conflict enough of a justification in itself?  Who is to say conflict is not justified or righteous or the natural state of things...or does not equate "order"?  Is that question just a reduction to a chaotic state and therefore invalidated?  Are we just supposed to take for granted that conflict is a negative thing to be avoided?  I'm not really sure.

Modus Tollens was specific enough to include this qualifier throughout this thread, as seen here: "If one desires to resolve conflicts peaceably by way of rational argument, then one must recognise some kind of basic self-ownership..." [emphasis added].  My question is, is there any base reasoning that says avoiding or resolving conflicts peacefully is the "right" way things should be done?

 

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filc replied on Sat, Sep 3 2011 2:03 PM

An ethical framework need not be moralistic in nature. There are motorcycle ethics, automotbile ethics, business ethics, and a myriad of ethical frameworks which are not concerned with the righteousness or evilness of things. They are only designed as a code of conduct or list of guidelines to help facilitate the realization of an end.

In the same way Argumentation Ethics simply provides a code of conduct to facilitate the realization in discovering Truths. Thats all. Now Hoppe applies libertarian principles based on that logical framework to arrive at several various conclusions. For example an individual acting as a proponent of socialism is a self servicing contradiction. Why does he think his opinion matters? Why does he think he even has a right to an opinion? Why does he feel compelled to verbalize his opinion if not that he thought his opinion was valid? There are a number of questions we can ask here and Hoppe explores all of that.

While you may dispute some of the principles Hoppe uses to come to arrive at these conclusions you need not denounce argumentation ethics as a whole. AE is simply a facilitater in verbal discourse. Nothing more. If anything it's just a complimentary layer on top of logic.

If we are in verbal discourse and I am attempting to defend a proposition we have to ask ourselves. Do you share a mutual interest with me in the searchf or and desire to discover a general truth? If your rebuttel has to do with the weight of my mother how can it be that it is in your interest to discover at some general truth regarding my proposition? AE can help us there.

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Gumdy replied on Sun, Jan 1 2012 9:00 PM

This is my introduction to Hoppe, in light of common criticisms.

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