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Hoppe's Argumentation Ethics: Stances of Prominent Austrians

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FunkedUp Posted: Tue, Mar 20 2012 11:46 PM

The purpose of this thread is to categorize prominent Austrians who have weighed in on the debate regarding Hoppe's argumentation ethics. For the purposes of this thread, I am not particularly interested in the debate itself; rather, I am looking to put together a project which details the various reasons why Austrian scholars are for or against this argument. There are several resources scattered across the internet, but there are no resources (to my knowledge) that provide a comprehensive overview of the entire community. If you are going to list a name, please provide a link to some evidence. I don't want to go by rumors.

My incomplete list.

In favor:

Murray Rothbard: http://mises.org/daily/4629

Jeffrey Tucker: http://blog.mises.org/13557/hoppes-argumentation-ethics-again/

Stephen Kinsella: http://mises.org/daily/5322

Walter Block: http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_31.pdf

In opposition

Bob Murphy: http://mises.org/journals/jls/20_2/20_2_3.pdf

Gene Callahan: http://mises.org/journals/jls/20_2/20_2_3.pdf

Roderick Long: http://praxeology.net/unblog05-04.htm#10

 

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I think it would be interesting to categorize the various opposing arguments and see who falls into each one.  Something like:

Conflation of use and ownership:  Long (maybe?) Murphy and Callahan (they kind of fall into here)

Formal/Structural disagreement: Knott, Yeager

Empirically unsound: Friedman

There's an entire Symposium dedicated to Hoppe's theory in the Nov. '88 issue of Liberty.  Oddly enough I have a hard copy on hand but no link.  Anyway, every article in there is critical, but I don't think that means that every author is "opposed" to the entire idea.  Tibor Machan and Douglas Rasmussen are pretty tough on Hoppe, but in the scheme of things, their own ethical philosophies are much closer to his than someone like Friedman.

Conversely, David Gordon's is the most sympathetic out of the bunch (after Rothbard's), but its not clear from the article whether he personally endorses Hoppe's position.

 

 

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FunkedUp replied on Wed, Mar 21 2012 3:03 PM

 

mikachusetts:

I think it would be interesting to categorize the various opposing arguments and see who falls into each one.  Something like:

Conflation of use and ownership:  Long (maybe?) Murphy and Callahan (they kind of fall into here)

Formal/Structural disagreement: Knott, Yeager

Empirically unsound: Friedman

There's an entire Symposium dedicated to Hoppe's theory in the Nov. '88 issue of Liberty.  Oddly enough I have a hard copy on hand but no link.  Anyway, every article in there is critical, but I don't think that means that every author is "opposed" to the entire idea.  Tibor Machan and Douglas Rasmussen are pretty tough on Hoppe, but in the scheme of things, their own ethical philosophies are much closer to his than someone like Friedman.

Conversely, David Gordon's is the most sympathetic out of the bunch (after Rothbard's), but its not clear from the article whether he personally endorses Hoppe's position.

Yep. This is the idea, but first I just wanted to get a broad overview. Do you have links to any of those positions?

David Gordon is tough to analyze with this: http://mises.org/daily/2313 and here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kIo46oIXtY (See 6 minute mark, but the whole video is worth watching). 

 

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http://mises.org/journals/liberty/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf

The symposium starts on page 44.  It has ten articles plus a rejoinder by Hoppe.  Enjoy

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FunkedUp replied on Wed, Mar 21 2012 3:18 PM

 

mikachusetts:

http://mises.org/journals/liberty/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf

The symposium starts on page 44.  It has ten articles plus a rejoinder by Hoppe.  Enjoy

Excellent resourse! Thank you.

 

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Conza88 replied on Wed, Mar 21 2012 3:33 PM

Tom Woods likes it. Source: libertychat.com Q &A *lol (I asked).

Guido Hülsmann is in favor - http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae7_4_4.pdf

Larry J. Sechrest is - http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae7_4_3.pdf

Frank van Dun is - http://libertarianpapers.org/2009/19-van-dun-argumentation-ethics/

Lesser known:

  1. “Action-Based Jurisprudence: Praxeological Legal Theory in Relation to Economic Theory, Ethics, and Legal Practice” by Konrad Graf

  2. "A Reply to the Current Critiques Formulated Against Hoppe's Argumentation Ethics," by Marian Eabrasu

  3. "Hopp(e)ing Onto New Ground: A Rothbardian Proposal for Thomistic Natural Law as the Basis for Hans-Hermann Hoppe's Praxeological Defense of Private Property," by Jude Chua Soo Meng

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Conza88 replied on Wed, Mar 21 2012 3:50 PM

mikachusetts:

"There's an entire Symposium dedicated to Hoppe's theory in the Nov. '88 issue of Liberty.  Oddly enough I have a hard copy on hand but no link.  Anyway, every article in there is critical, but I don't think that means that every author is "opposed" to the entire idea.  Tibor Machan and Douglas Rasmussen are pretty tough on Hoppe, but in the scheme of things, their own ethical philosophies are much closer to his than someone like Friedman."

Yep. And there's a reason for that ;).

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Clayton replied on Wed, Mar 21 2012 3:50 PM

The problem is that self-ownership is a very complex/synthetic concept - it cannot be exhausted by lingual description (as all analytic concepts can be). It makes sense to use such complex/synthetic concepts as axioms for things that cannot be disputed (such as one's own urge to act or conscious awareness of the world). This is what Mises does with the action axiom. But it doesn't make sense to use this kind of argument for disputes over normative principles exactly because there is simply too much room for "yeah but" arguments.

The whole idea of formal deductive argument is that there is no room for "yeah but"s... everything is clearly either logically valid or invalid and the argument is reduced to a matter of agreement/disagreement over axioms. If someone says "I don't agree to that assumption" it's no use to say "but you must!" - if there isn't agreement over the axioms, there simply isn't agreement at all. If Alice says to Bob "You do not own yourself", it's no use for Bob to argue that Alice must believe he owns himself since she is arguing with him. It could be argued that Bob may deduce that Alice secretly does believe that Bob owns himself but there is no sense in which Bob can compel Alice not to lie or "prove" that she must really believe that he owns himself.

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Conza88 replied on Mon, Mar 26 2012 8:58 PM

"The problem is that self-ownership is a very complex/synthetic concept - it cannot be exhausted by lingual description (as all analytic concepts can be)."

Nope.

    "The answer to the question what makes my body "mine" lies in the obvious fact that this is not merely an assertion but that, for everyone to see, this is indeed the case. Why do we say "this is my body"? For this a twofold requirement exists. On the one hand it must be the case that the body called "mine" must indeed (in an intersubjectively ascertainable way) express or "objectify" my will. Proof of this, as far as my body is concerned, is easy enough to demonstrate: When I announce that I will now lift my arm, turn my head, relax in my chair (or whatever else) and these announcements then become true (are fulfilled), then this shows that the body which does this has been indeed appropriated by my will. If, to the contrary, my announcements showed no systematic relation to my body's actual behavior, then the proposition "this is my body" would have to be considered as an empty, objectively unfounded assertion; and likewise this proposition would be rejected as incorrect if following my announcement not my arm would rise but always that of Müller, Meier, or Schulze (in which case one would more likely be inclined to consider Müller's, Meier's, or Schulze's body "mine"). On the other hand, apart from demonstrating that my will has been "objectified" in the body called "mine," it must be demonstrated that my appropriation has priority as compared to the possible appropriation of the same body by another person.

    As far as bodies are concerned, it is also easy to prove this. We demonstrate it by showing that it is under my direct control, while every other person can objectify (express) itself in my body only indirectly, i.e., by means of their own bodies, and direct control must obviously have logical-temporal priority (precedence) as compared to any indirect control. The latter simply follows from the fact that any indirect control of a good by a person presupposes the direct control of this person regarding his own body; thus, in order for a scarce good to become justifiably appropriated, the appropriation of one's directly controlled "own" body must already be presupposed as justified. It thus follows: If the justice of an appropriation by means of direct control must be presupposed by any further-reaching indirect appropriation, and if only I have direct control of my body, then no one except me can ever justifiably own my body (or, put differently, then property in/of my body cannot be transferred onto another person), and every attempt of an indirect control of my body by another person must, unless I have explicitly agreed to it, be regarded as unjust(ified).[7]"

[7]Informal translation from Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Eigentum, Anarchie und Staat (Manuscriptum Verlag, 2005, pp. 98-100; originally published in 1985).

"This is what Mises does with the action axiom. But it doesn't make sense to use this kind of argument for disputes over normative principles exactly because there is simply too much room for "yeah but" arguments."

Nope.

"Let me start by asking what is wrong with the position taken by Mises and so many others that the choice between values is ultimately arbitrary? First, it should be noted that such a position assumes that at least the question of whether or not value judgments or normative statements can be justified is itself a cognitive problem. If this were not assumed, Mises could not even say what he evidently says and claims to be the case. His position simply could not exist as an arguable intellectual position.

At first glance this does not seem to take one very far. Indeed, it still seems to be a far cry from this insight to the actual proof that normative statements can be justified and that it is only the libertarian ethic which can be defended. This impression is wrong, however, and there is already much more won here than might be suspected. The argument shows us that any truth claim, the claim connected with any proposition that it is true, objective or valid (all terms used synonymously here), is and must be raised and settled in the course of an argumentation. Since it cannot be disputed that this is so (one cannot communicate and argue that one cannot communicate and argue), and since it must be assumed that everyone knows what it means to claim something to be true (one cannot deny this statement without claiming its negation to be true), this very fact has been aptly called "the a priori of communication and argumentation."

Arguing never consists of just free-floating propositions claiming to be true. Rather, argumentation is always an activity, too. However, given that truth claims are raised and settled in argumentation and that argumentation, aside from whatever it is that is said in its course, is a practical affair, it follows that intersubjectively meaningful norms must exist-precisely those which make some action an argumentation-which have a special cognitive status in that they are the practical preconditions of objectivity and truth."

The Economics and Ethics of Private Property p.314-15 ~ Hoppe

"The whole idea of formal deductive argument is that there is no room for "yeah but"s... everything is clearly either logically valid or invalid and the argument is reduced to a matter of agreement/disagreement over axioms. If someone says "I don't agree to that assumption" it's no use to say "but you must!" - if there isn't agreement over the axioms, there simply isn't agreement at all. If Alice says to Bob "You do not own yourself", it's no use for Bob to argue that Alice must believe he owns himself since she is arguing with him. It could be argued that Bob may deduce that Alice secretly does believe that Bob owns himself but there is no sense in which Bob can compel Alice not to lie or "prove" that she must really believe that he owns himself."

Nope.

The a priori of argumentation, or argumentation ethics offers the praxeological proof which establishes self-ownership as an axiom. It serves as a negative critique of justifiable norms. It bounds the scope of norms that can be consistently justified without pain of contradiction.

It's meta-normative, it establishes what you have a right to do. It does not say what you ought or should do. In this sense, being an axiomatic-deductive legal theory based on action it is not a part of ethics at all.

Clayton, have you come to accept what inter-subjectively ascertainable is yet, and are no longer confusing it with "objective" ?

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Right on, Conza. By the way, do you have a link to that translation of Hoppe's full Eigentum, Anarchie und Staat you provided? Or is that just an excerpt you've found elsewhere?

If I had a cake and ate it, it can be concluded that I do not have it anymore. HHH

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Conza88 replied on Mon, Mar 26 2012 10:04 PM

Right on, Conza. By the way, do you have a link to that translation of Hoppe's full Eigentum, Anarchie und Staat you provided? Or is that just an excerpt you've found elsewhere?

Thank you sir :). The latter - an excerpt found elsewhere. I forget where though. I haven't tried to digg up a translation either, might try soon. Let us know if you find anything.

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FunkedUp replied on Mon, Mar 26 2012 10:54 PM

I love this issue because it's so damn controversial and the intellectual positions for both sides are almost always superb in quality. It always generates good friendly debate within the Austrian community. 

Does anyone know where Lew Rockwell stands on this issue? I bet he would have some interesting things to say about this. 

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Clayton replied on Tue, Mar 27 2012 1:34 AM

@Conza:

Your argument proves too much. If Alice owns herself, then she has the power to lie, to contradict herself and to be a hypocrite. Bob cannot have any argument which compels Alice not to lie, contradict herself or be a hypocrite. Every logical argument is implicitly prefixed with the statement, "If you don't want to contradict yourself, then ..." If Alice is a self-owner, she may even assign her own private definitions to words, words such as "argument" "lie" "hypocrisy" "contradiction" "false" and so on.

What Alice does not control is the definition of words as everyone except Alice uses them. You can call this "objective" or "inter-subjective" meaning or whatever you like, but the essential attribute of language is that it is a posteriori. Language arises not from philosophers in armchairs arguing out modus ponens - it arises from actual usage.

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Conza88 replied on Tue, Mar 27 2012 5:15 AM

Re: Your argument proves too much. If Alice owns herself, then she has the power to lie, to contradict herself and to be a hypocrite. Bob cannot have any argument which compels Alice not to lie, contradict herself or be a hypocrite. Every logical argument is implicitly prefixed with the statement, "If you don't want to contradict yourself, then ..." If Alice is a self-owner, she may even assign her own private definitions to words, words such as "argument" "lie" "hypocrisy" "contradiction" "false" and so on.

It proves just enough wink.

This is an excerpt where Hoppe responds to the critique of the universalizability principle, the absurdity of a private language, Ludwig Wittgenstein and contradiction. Hoppe’s response starts at 4.28+ but the intro question helps put things into perspective.

Re: "What Alice does not control is the definition of words as everyone except Alice uses them. You can call this "objective" or "inter-subjective" meaning or whatever you like, but the essential attribute of language is that it is a posteriori. Language arises not from philosophers in armchairs arguing out modus ponens - it arises from actual usage."

Seems like you need to take a refresher course. [Note on “objective, intersubjectively ascertainable”] *A friendly introduction to Hoppe's AE*

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Nielsio replied on Tue, Mar 27 2012 5:55 AM

A Critique Of Hoppean Ethics ('argumentation ethics')

http://nielsio.tumblr.com/post/16528520459/a-critique-of-hoppean-ethics-argumentation-ethics

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Clayton replied on Tue, Mar 27 2012 12:04 PM

the absurdity of a private language

I don't think Hoppe would stand by his argument that an individual cannot consistently use a private language in the same sense that he can consistently use a public language. I can refer to a book as a "farfignewton" from here on out. I may do so for the rest of my life and use this substitution as consistently as I would have otherwise used the word "book." I can even construct a private - yet consistent - grammar.

The public nature of language arises from its role in communication. If I'm not trying to communicate then, in principle, there is no obstacle to having a private language. In fact, there may be some use in thinking of the mnemonics, habits and work patterns peculiar to an individual (for example, leaving a blank Post-It note on the fridge as a reminder to check the mail) as a kind of private language - such a private language is clearly consistent with the action axiom.

Seems like you need to take a refresher course

*shrug

I looked over the post and, in my opinion, the terminology conceals more than it reveals. The distinction between subjective and objective is controversial enough without multiplying the controversy with singular/plural. I think that modern philosophy of consciousness - as exemplified by the work of David Chalmers, for example - provides a more lucid framework for debating these issues.

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Gumdy replied on Tue, Mar 27 2012 8:32 PM

Here is a nice video of Tom Woods explaining argumentation ethics (doing a good job).

Here is another small critique of AE ("A Generalization and Critique of Hoppean Ethics", Andrew T. Young), accepting it almost completely but then arguing that a certain rule of ownership ("control share") is an unaccounted for counter example.

It however fails to notice the proposed norm is not a valid rule of ownership at all, as it can simultaneously justify multiple conflicting wants over the same resource. There are also some other small mistakes there. I'm adding it for reference.

Here is mine awkwardly named "Hoppe's Argumentation Ethics: A User Friendly, Neighborly Introduction", it has been revised a bit since last posted.

BTW, some time ago I've stumbled across a working draft of a paper by Marian Eabrasu, who defended AE, criticizing AE. I mailed him some feedback. Anyway, he asked not to quote from it, and it hanen't been published (probably never will..), so I'm not attaching it here. 

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Conza88 replied on Tue, Mar 27 2012 11:07 PM

Re: "I don't think Hoppe would stand by his argument that an individual cannot consistently use a private language in the same sense that he can consistently use a public language."

No, he would stand behind Wittgenstein and his private language argument. The idea of a private language is really incoherent. If a langauge is a social phenonmon, how can it then be private? You can make up your own words to whatever, but when you communicate with anyone you enter the public sphere. You clearly don't know what it is; or what Hoppe was actually referring to... your points miss the mark.

What a private language is

If someone were to behave as if they understood a language which no-one else can make sense of, we might call this an example of a private language.[3] It is not sufficient here, however, for the language to simply be one that has not yet been translated. In order to count as a private language in Wittgenstein's sense, it must be in principle incapable of translation into an ordinary language - if for example it were to describe those inner experiences supposed to be inaccessible to others.[4] The private language being considered is not simply a language in fact understood by one person, but a language that in principle can only be understood by one person. So the last speaker of a dying language would not be speaking a private language, since the language remains in principle learnable. A private language must be unlearnable and untranslatable, and yet it must appear that the speaker is able to make sense of it.

The Beetle in a box

The Beetle in a Box is a famous thought experiment that Wittgenstein introduces in the context of his investigation of pains.[16]

Pains occupy a distinct and vital place in the philosophy of mind for several reasons.[17] One is that pains seem to collapse the appearance/reality distinction.[18] If an object appears to you to be red it might not be so in reality, but if you seem to yourself to be in pain you must be so: there can be no case here of seeming at all. At the same time, one cannot feel another person’s pain, but only infer it from their behavior and their reports of it.

If we accept pains as special qualia known absolutely but exclusively by the solitary minds that perceive them, this may be taken to ground a Cartesian view of the self and consciousness. Our consciousness, of pains anyway, would seem unassailable. Against this, one might acknowledge the absolute fact of one's own pain, but claim skepticism about the existence of anyone else's pains. Alternatively, one might take a behaviorist line and claim that our pains are merely neurological stimulations accompanied by a disposition to behave.[19]

Wittgenstein invites us to imagine a community in which the individuals each have a box containing a "beetle". "No one can look into anyone else's box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle."[16]

If the "beetle" had a use in the language of these people, it could not be as the name of something - because it is entirely possible that each person had something completely different in their box, or even that the thing in the box constantly changed, or that each box was in fact empty. The content of the box is irrelevant to whatever language game it is used in.

By analogy, it does not matter that one cannot experience another's subjective sensations. Unless talk of such subjective experience is learned through public experience the actual content is irrelevant; all we can discuss is what is available in our public language.

By offering the “beetle” as an analogy to pains, Wittgenstein suggests that the case of pains is not really amenable to the uses philosophers would make of it. “That is to say: if we construe the grammar of the expression of sensation on the model of ‘object and designation,’ the object drops out of consideration as irrelevant.”[16]

Re: "I looked over the post and, in my opinion, the terminology conceals more than it reveals. The distinction between subjective and objective is controversial enough without multiplying the controversy with singular/plural. I think that modern philosophy of consciousness - as exemplified by the work of David Chalmers, for example - provides a more lucid framework for debating these issues."

Ugh, then maybe you should consult the cited sources aye? I think it clarifies the issue remarkably well. Very dismissive, you don't have a critique on it's accuracy besides some notions of already existent 'controveries'? Eh? What is the work of David Chalmers, it's relevancy and what's this lucid framework?

 

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Clayton replied on Wed, Mar 28 2012 1:51 AM

@Conza: OK, we seem to be going down rabbit-trails and not addressing the central point of disagreement that I have with Hoppe. I agree that there is an objective component to right and wrong (satisfaction/dissatisfaction) in that there are definite courses of action which lead to unhappiness and other, definite courses of action that lead to happiness. Similarly for inter-personal ethics, there are definite rights and wrongs, that is, there are definite courses of action which lead to conflict and misery and other, definite courses of action that lead to prosperity and cooperation.

Where I disagree with Hoppe, Rothbard et. al. is over how these definite courses of action are discovered. Good and evil (that is, satisfaction and dissatisfaction), and right and wrong (behavior that leads to peaceful cooperation or conflict) can only be discovered a posteriori, through a process of trial and error. The view of Hoppe, Rothbard et. al. is that the laws of human behavior for personal satisfaction (asocial ethics) and interpersonal cooperation and prosperity (social ethics) can be deduced from first principles through a priori means. This is incorrect for the same basic reason that the correct price of oranges in downtown Galveston, TX cannot be deduced from first principles through a priori means.

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Gumdy replied on Thu, Mar 29 2012 2:03 PM

Another critique, mostly about AE, by one Gerard Radnitzky who was a neo-classical and a smart guy. First he misunderstands Hoppe's critique of critical rationalism (thinking it's dependent on a counter example), then arguing against Hoppe's supposed bridging of the is-ought dichotomy (synonymous with justificationist ethics in his view), and the usage of Kantian terminology... Finally he argues against apriorism in economics citing "charity" as a counter example to trade being mutually beneficial...

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Gumdy replied on Tue, Jun 12 2012 9:00 AM

Just for good order adding this critique called "Phenomenology and argumentation ethics" by Xavier Meulders. Browsing it briefly (24 pages... cmon...), despite the fancy phenomenological decor it seems to be the usual points of misunderstanding. If someone requires a more detailed response, he can ask.

 

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My response to Meulers paper having read it.

The main issue with the paper is argument that everyone must assert they have rights based upon their rationality. I could argue my rights depend upon my superior style and aesthetic taste. Now it is the case can only argue this in language but my existence does not depend on language. Consequently the universalisability criterion does not necessarily apply in this case.

A note on Husserl, although his analysis seems interesting imbibing the essence of an object without interpreting it seems at least odd- I hold that man has imagination as well as reason where the former is the epistemology of the aesthetic and is more intuitive I wouldn't deny that kind of intuition is devoid of analgous presuppostions.

The problem with all the argumentation ethics is that they need a broader moral philosophic base which implies an overall framework of everything- metaphysics (Truth), ethics (Goodness) and aesthetics (Beauty (I count epistemology as a method of discovering these irreducible essences (used in a loose sense)

The atoms tell the atoms so, for I never was or will but atoms forevermore be.

Yours sincerely,

Physiocrat

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mustang19 replied on Thu, Jun 14 2012 12:54 AM

Arguing over argumentation ethics? Like you guys don't have any more pressing concerns? This is worse than Maoists versus Leninists.

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Gumdy replied on Wed, Jun 20 2012 3:11 PM

 

Another (neo-classical) critique by one Ilja Schmelzer. Skimming the article (another 50 pages critique... how can someone read those?) I see very familiar "objections" such as: 

He may only pretend to participate seriously,

but really, in fact, this participation is only a joke.

and a general equivocation of the formal concept of performative contradiction with just standard issue hypocrisy...

 

misunderstanding the difference between a-priori statements and their categorical application:

Indisputable? I disagree. I can dispute the claim “humans are capable of argumentation” without contradicting myself. I can, for example, claim that some

humans are not capable of argumentation.

ext. ext.

 

 

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agisthos replied on Sat, Aug 25 2012 7:11 PM

The part of AE I think is strongest is the concept of performative contradictions.

Self Ownership - To deny this requires ownership of one's body / mind
Objective Truths do exist - To deny this affirms its negation to be true
Conciousness does exist (Randian type arguement) - To deny this requires use of conciousness

These type of propositions are to me axiomatic and indisputable norms. Where I think the chain gets wobbly is making the leap from self-ownership to homesteading and private property rights. Hoppe makes a good attempt but it does not seem as strong as the first principles.

But Hoppe does say that after all, argumentation (and following that our physical existance) is a 'practical' affair. Requiring food, shelter and the use of scarce resources in order to continue the discourse and survive in the physical world. And it is a fact there will always be rivalrous conflict over the use of scarce resources, because mans wants are unlimited but the means to achieve them are scarce.

But according to AE, one of the axiomatic norms is a 'conflict free' or 'less conflict' method of resolving disputes. This proposition is supported by a performative contradiction (again) - the very act of engaging in argumentative discourse means you prefer less conflict, otherwise you would just kill, beat, take or steal from the person on the other side of the dispute.

So this ties together - on the one hand scarce resources are rivalrous and the source of conflict, and on the other hand your actions presuppose a preference for less conflict. Hoppe then declares the only possible way of using scarce resources with the least conflict is via a first-use/homesteading system of private property rights. Property rights based on latecomer-use and universal ownership are praxeologically shown to increase conflict, not reduce it, and thus rejected.

So therefore, the very act of argumentation and rational discourse implies a preference for the libertarian system of self-ownership and homesteading. Hence this system is the only one that can be universally justified.

I can see why AE would infuriate a lot of people, but within the confines of this logic, the theory is all deduced without oughts, ethical interjection or major missteps. It is all praxeological and deduced from the action axiom, but this time starting from the action of discourse.

My biggest complaint is Hoppe has not done the best job in writing it clearly for people to follow. Considering his amazing clarity in most of his other work, this is disappointing considering it is his most known intellectual theory.

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Wheylous replied on Sat, Aug 25 2012 9:27 PM

Self Ownership - To deny this requires ownership of one's body / mind

No, it doesn't. Obama can easily own my body and merely be allowing me to use it. Just a counterexample.

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agisthos replied on Sun, Aug 26 2012 2:16 AM

Its the most common objection I have seen, and those using it misunderstand  the point of the theory (im not saying you are in this category Wheylous), that AE is about what can be justificatively derived from a praxeological analysis of action and discourse.

Slavery of ones body involves the use of force or threat thereof, and thus the actors involved prefer to resolve conflict via force and violence. The fact that there is slavery, that someone can force you to use your body or engage in 'fake' discourse does not invalidate the concept of AE. In reality the common man prefers to resolve issues via the least conflict. Praxeology is a 'stereotype' or 'average' of mans preference. We do not single out minor cases of criminals and sociopaths, and claim that the existance of them somehow overturns the reality of this 'average'.

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Conza88 replied on Mon, Jan 7 2013 6:57 AM

Roderick Long:
http://praxeology.net/unblog05-04.htm#10

"Hoppe offers a number of different formulations of his argument; here is a condensed reconstruction of the argument as I understand it:

1. No position is rationally defensible unless it can be justified by argument.
2. No position can be justified by argument if it denies one or more of the preconditions of interpersonal argumentative exchange.
3. Interpersonal argumentative exchange requires that each participant in the exchange enjoy exclusive control over her own body.
4. To deny the right of self-ownership is to deny exclusive control over one’s own body.
5. Therefore, the denial of the right of self-ownership is rationally indefensible

As noted, this is my wording of the argument, not Hoppe’s. If I have misunderstood Hoppe’s argument, which is quite possible, then my criticisms will be applicable only to my reconstruction of his position, and not to his position itself..."

As it actually is formulated:

“Second, there is the logical gap between “is-” and “ought-statements” which natural rights proponents have failed to bridge successfullyexcept 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 justificationa priori true is-statement;

  • (b) argumentation presupposes property in one’s body and the homesteading principlea priori true is-statement; and

  • (c) then, no deviation from this ethic can be argumentatively justifieda 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.”

          — Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Economics and Ethics of Private Property

Never the less, the issue Roderik takes is with the premises themselves given he considers the deductions logically sound.

Roderick Long:
... My worries concern the truth of the premises themselves.

Is premise (1) true? Not obviously so. It depends, I suppose, on what counts as an argument. (Does Aristotelean “negative demonstration” count? Does coherence among propositions count?) But if argument involves deriving a conclusion from premises, then (1) seems to say that no position is rationally defensible unless it can be derived from premises. But presumably the premises themselves must be rationally defensible too; deriving a conclusion from premises that are not rationally defensible is hardly going to confer rational defensibility on the conclusion. So those premises, too, must be justified by argument – and so on for the premises of that argument. Thus we are launched on an infinite regress, with the apparent upshot that no position can be rationally justified – a performatively contradictory assertion if there ever was one.

  • "Any truth claim, the claim connected with any proposition that it is true, objective or valid (all terms used synonymously here), is and must be raised and settled in the course of an argumentation. Since it cannot be disputed that this is so (one cannot communicate and argue that one cannot communicate and argue), and since it must be assumed that everyone knows what it means to claim something to be true (one cannot deny this statement without claiming its negation to be true), this very fact has been aptly called "the a priori of communication and argumentation." Hoppe, EEPP, p. 314
  • Argumentation is a conflict-free way of interacting. Not in the sense that there is always agreement on the things said, but in the sense that as long as argumentation is in progress it is always possible to agree at least on the fact that there is disagreement about the validity of what has been said. And this is to say nothing else than that a mutual recognition of each person's exclusive control over his own body must be presupposed as long as there is argumentation (note again, that it is impossible to deny this and claim this denial to be true without implicitly having to admit its truth). Hoppe, TSC, p. 158
  •  “[T]he claim of having produced an a priori true proposition does not imply a claim of being infallible.  No one is, and rationalism has never said anything to the contrary.  Rationalism merely argues that the process of validating or falsifying a statement claiming to be true a priori is categorically different from that of validating or falsifying what is commonly referred to as an empirical proposition. … Revisions of mathematical arguments are themselves a priori.  They only show that an argument thought to be a priori true is not.” Hoppe, Defense of Extreme Rationalism, p. 208.

Roderick Long:
Is premise (2) true? It seems not. Consider the statement “I am the only person left alive.” One can certainly imagine circumstances in which one would be warranted in endorsing this statement on the basis of the available evidence. (The last astronaut left on the space station watches the Earth explode ....) Hence the statement could in principle be justified by argument. Yet it certainly denies one of the preconditions of interpersonal argumentative exchange – namely, the existence of other arguers.

  • "I will begin with some abstract but fundamental theoretical considerations concerning the sources of conflicts and the purpose of social  norms. If there were no interpersonal conflicts, there would be no need for  norms. It is the purpose of norms to help avoid otherwise unavoidable  conflicts. A norm that generates conflict, rather than helps avoid it, is  contrary to the purpose of norms, i.e., it is a dysfunctional norm or a  perversion." Hoppe, The Rational For Total Privatization
  • "Alone on his island, Robinson Crusoe can do whatever he pleases. For him, the question concerning rules of orderly human conduct - social cooperation - simply does not arise. This question can only arise once a second person, Friday, arrives on the island. Yet even then, the question remains largely irrelevant so long as no scarcity exists..." Hoppe, Idea of Private Law Society
  • "Yet scarcity, and the possibility of conflicts, is not sufficient for the emergence of ethical problems. Obviously, one could have conflicts regarding scarce resources with an animal, yet one would not consider it possible to resolve these conflicts by means of proposing property norms. In such cases, the avoidance of conflicts is merely a technical, not an ethical, problem. For it to become an ethical problem, it is also necessary that the conflicting actors be capable, in principle, of argumentation." HHH, Economics and ethics of private property, p411

Roderick Long:
Is premise (3) true? I don’t see why. Do you really have to have exclusive control over your entire body in order to engage in argument with me? Couldn’t I, say, have your body shackled yet leave your mouth free?

Of the exact same vein as one of Bob Murphy's and Callahans arguments... which get laid to waste on page 15-18 here (trying to keep this concise).

Roderick Long:
Is premise (4) true? I find it ambiguous. What does it mean for me to deny your exclusive control over your body? I might be denying the fact of your control – or the legitimacy of your control – or your right to exercise such control. These are three different things. For example, suppose you aggress against me; then I can acknowledge the fact that you are exercising control over my body, without acknowledging the legitimacy of your doing so. In the same way, then, I can acknowledge the fact that you are exercising control over your own body without committing myself to the legitimacy of your doing so. Indeed, just as I can engage in activities (e.g., self-defense) that presuppose the fact, though not the legitimacy, of your aggression against me, so I can engage in activities (e.g., argumentative exchange) that presuppose the fact, but not the legitimacy, of your control over your own body. Thus acknowledging the fact need not involve acknowledging the legitimacy.

Likewise, acknowledging the legitimacy need not involve acknowledging the right. To say that your action is legitimate is to say that you violate no moral duty in performing the action; but it doesn’t imply – as a right would – that I am morally bound not to interfere with your performance of the action. Suppose a tiger attacks me. I don’t think the tiger is doing anything immoral, since I don’t regard tigers as responsible agents. Hence I grant that the tiger’s attack is legitimate, but I still regard myself as justified in using force to defend myself. Or suppose you and I are shooting hoops, and you try to block my shot. I acknowledge the legitimacy of what you are doing, but I don’t have to let you succeed. In the same way, even if I acknowledge the legitimacy of your exercising control over your own body, that is in principle compatible with my being justified in doing my best to interfere with that control.

Same as Lomasky's response..

  • "Arguing is an activity and requires a person’s exclusive control over scarce resources (one’s brain, vocal cords, etc.). More specifically, as long as there is argumentation, there is a mutual  recognition of each other’s exclusive control over such resources. It is this which explains the unique feature of communication: that while one may disagree about what has been said, it is still possible to independently agree at least on the fact that there is disagreement. (Lomasky does not seem to dispute this. He claims, however, that it merely proves the fact of mutually exclusive domains of control, not the right of self-ownership. He errs. Whatever [the law of contradiction, for instance] must be presupposed insofar as one argues cannot be meaningfully disputed because it is the very precondition of meaningful doubt; hence, it must be regarded as indisputable or a priori valid. In the same vein, the fact of self-ownership is a praxeological precondition of argumentation. Anyone trying to prove or disprove anything must be a self-owner. It is a self-contradictory absurdity to ask for any further-reaching justification for this fact. Required, of necessity, by all meaningful argumentation, self-ownership is an absolutely and ultimately justified fact." Hoppe, EEPP, Appendix: Four Critical Replies
  • "To say that this principle [underlying capitalism] is just also does not preclude the possibility of people proposing or even enforcing rules that are incompatible with it. As a matter of fact, with respect to norms the situation is very similar to that in other disciplines of scientific inquiry. The fact, for instance, that certain empirical statements are justified or justifiable and others are not does not imply that everyone only defends objective, valid statements. Rather, people can be wrong, even intentionally. But the distinction between objective and subjective, between true and false, does not lose any of its significance because of this. Rather, people who are wrong would have to be classified as either uninformed or intentionally lying. The case is similar with respect ton orms. Of course there are many people who do not propagate or enforce norms which can be classified as valid according to the meaning of justification which I have given above. But the distinction between justifiable and nonjustifiable norms does not dissolve because of this, just as that between objective and subjective statements does not crumble because of the existence of uninformed or lying people. Rather, and accordingly, those people who would propagate and enforce such different, invalid norms would again have to be classified as uninformed or dishonest, insofar as one had explained to them and indeed made it clear that their alternative norm proposals or enforcements could not and never would be justifiable in argumentation." Hoppe, TSC, Chapter 7

Roderick Long:
Premise (4) is true if denying exclusive control over one’s own body means denying the right to such control – but not if it means merely denying either the fact or the legitimacy of such control. Hence we had better interpret premise (4) as talking about the right, not the legitimacy or the fact – since that is the only interpretation that makes (4) come out true. But then, if the argument is to remain valid, premise (3) must likewise be reinterpreted to mean “Interpersonal argumentative exchange requires that each participant in the exchange enjoy a right to exclusive control over her own body.” But why should we grant the truth of (3), under that interpretation? Whatever plausibility (3) had came from interpreting it as talking either about the fact or the legitimacy, not the right. When (3) is interpreted as talking about the right, it starts looking less like a premise and more like the intended conclusion.

  •     The answer to the question what makes my body "mine" lies in the obvious fact that this is not merely an assertion but that, for everyone to see, this is indeed the case. Why do we say "this is my body"? For this a twofold requirement exists. On the one hand it must be the case that the body called "mine" must indeed (in an intersubjectively ascertainable way) express or "objectify" my will. Proof of this, as far as my body is concerned, is easy enough to demonstrate: When I announce that I will now lift my arm, turn my head, relax in my chair (or whatever else) and these announcements then become true (are fulfilled), then this shows that the body which does this has been indeed appropriated by my will. If, to the contrary, my announcements showed no systematic relation to my body's actual behavior, then the proposition "this is my body" would have to be considered as an empty, objectively unfounded assertion; and likewise this proposition would be rejected as incorrect if following my announcement not my arm would rise but always that of Müller, Meier, or Schulze (in which case one would more likely be inclined to consider Müller's, Meier's, or Schulze's body "mine"). On the other hand, apart from demonstrating that my will has been "objectified" in the body called "mine," it must be demonstrated that my appropriation has priority as compared to the possible appropriation of the same body by another person.

        As far as bodies are concerned, it is also easy to prove this. We demonstrate it by showing that it is under my direct control, while every other person can objectify (express) itself in my body only indirectly, i.e., by means of their own bodies, and direct control must obviously have logical-temporal priority (precedence) as compared to any indirect control. The latter simply follows from the fact that any indirect control of a good by a person presupposes the direct control of this person regarding his own body; thus, in order for a scarce good to become justifiably appropriated, the appropriation of one's directly controlled "own" body must already be presupposed as justified. It thus follows: If the justice of an appropriation by means of direct control must be presupposed by any further-reaching indirect appropriation, and if only I have direct control of my body, then no one except me can ever justifiably own my body (or, put differently, then property in/of my body cannot be transferred onto another person), and every attempt of an indirect control of my body by another person must, unless I have explicitly agreed to it, be regarded as unjust(ified).[7]

    [7]Informal translation from Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Eigentum, Anarchie und Staat (Manuscriptum Verlag, 2005, pp. 98-100; originally published in 1985).

Roderick Long:
I have two broader, Austro-Athenian worries about Hoppe’s argument. (They may actually just be two different ways of stating the same worry.) First: to defend the existence of libertarian rights is to defend a view about the content of justice – but as an Aristotelean, I’m inclined to doubt that the content of justice can be settled apart from the content of the other virtues, or of the good life generally. Second: Hoppe’s argument, if it worked, would commit us to recognising and respecting libertarian rights regardless of what our goals are – but as a praxeologist, I have trouble seeing how any practical requirement can be justified apart from a means-end structure.

Action-based jurisprudence... most advanced thing out there. Chill, you can still keep your Aristotelean ways (as I'm also rather inclined).


Deductive  legal  theory,  when  properly  applied  in  a  given  context, objectively and descriptively defines the parameters of what justice is in relation to questions of property rights, contracts, torts, and other legal matters. This yields  a  deeper-than-expected  foundation  for  the  traditional  libertarian insistence  on  not  mixing  law  with  morality  and  the  corollary  opposition  to “legislating  morality.”  Legal  theory  is  a  discrete  field  that,  like  Mises’s conception of economic theory, can provide descriptive, categorical input for use in “ought” considerations, even as legal theory and ethics remain distinct in foundations, scope, and method.

  • Deductive  legal  theory,  when  properly  applied  in  a  given  context, objectively and descriptively defines the parameters of what justice is in relation to questions of property rights, contracts, torts, and other legal matters. This yields  a  deeper-than-expected  foundation  for  the  traditional  libertarian insistence  on  not  mixing  law  with  morality  and  the  corollary  opposition  to “legislating  morality.”  Legal  theory  is  a  discrete  field  that,  like  Mises’s conception of economic theory, can provide descriptive, categorical input for use in “ought” considerations, even as legal theory and ethics remain distinct in foundations, scope, and method.

* Massive rush job. If anything needs expanding/elaboration/isn't clear/you don't think actually address it, let us know.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Neodoxy replied on Mon, Jan 7 2013 3:27 PM

Conza88:

  • (a) justification is propositional justificationa priori true is-statement;

  • (b) argumentation presupposes property in one’s body and the homesteading principlea priori true is-statement; and

  • (c) then, no deviation from this ethic can be argumentatively justifieda priori true is-statement.

 

And this is, once again, where argumentation ethics falls on its face just like all other "Real Ethics". Just because I use my body to argue doesn't mean that I am extending rights on to anyone else, all it means is that I believe that I should be able to speak and argue at the time and place that I did when facing the exact conditions I did. This is not prescriptive upon the actions of anyone else or even of myself under different conditions.

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Malachi replied on Mon, Jan 7 2013 4:06 PM
Neodoxy:

Conza88:

  • (a) justification is propositional justificationa priori true is-statement;

  • (b) argumentation presupposes property in one’s body and the homesteading principlea priori true is-statement; and

  • (c) then, no deviation from this ethic can be argumentatively justifieda priori true is-statement.

 

And this is, once again, where argumentation ethics falls on its face just like all other "Real Ethics". Just because I use my body to argue doesn't mean that I am extending rights on to anyone else, all it means is that I believe that I should be able to speak and argue at the time and place that I did when facing the exact conditions I did. This is not prescriptive upon the actions of anyone else or even of myself under different conditions.

See above, "no deviation from this ethic can be argumentatively justified". sure, you claim the rights for yourself and dont extend them to anyone else, like any tyrant. Got it. Now can you justify this decision? Or do you concede that it cannot be argumentatively justified?
Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
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Neodoxy replied on Mon, Jan 7 2013 4:14 PM

"See above, "no deviation from this ethic can be argumentatively justified". sure, you claim the rights for yourself and dont extend them to anyone else, like any tyrant. Got it. Now can you justify this decision? Or do you concede that it cannot be argumentatively justified?"

What is 'argumentatively justified' is entirely subjective. I could argue that because I am especially good looking that I should have rights, or that because I am in need that it's acceptable for me to violate your rights. Both of these are argumentatively justifiable exactly because ought is subjective and at any rate brining in argumentation ethics into the equation didn't get you anywhere.

If you fire a gun to stop me from stealing your things then have you given the okay on everyone firing guns at people? No. There were specific conditions which you experienced which you believed gave you the justification for firing at me, not a general law.

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Malachi replied on Mon, Jan 7 2013 4:26 PM
I could argue that because I am especially good looking that I should have rights
thats a non sequitur, youre trying to turn a subjective value (your good looks) into an intersubjective proposition. Does not follow, objectively.
because I am in need that it's acceptable for me to violate your rights.
thats a non sequitur, no one has any reason to accept your proposition.
Both of these are argumentatively justifiable exactly because ought is subjective
if they are justifiable then go right ahead and justify them. Making propositions is not the same as justifying them. You must appeal to premises. Whwn you make a proposition the only premises you have affirmed are those necessary for argumentation, i.e. self-ownership. We arent discussing "ought" here, just facts.
If you fire a gun to stop me from stealing your things then have you given the okay on everyone firing guns at people?
what I have done is made it impossible for me to object to another person's use of firearms to prevent theft, because I am estopped from objecting.
No. There were specific conditions which you experienced which you believed gave you the justification for firing at me, not a general law.
and I have demonstrated a preference for my use of deadly force against a thief over my loss of property to theft. Now if I were to object to someone else's performance of same, it would be incoherent, and therefore an invalid argument. Hence I have affirmed the use of deadly force against criminal aggressors.
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Neodoxy replied on Mon, Jan 7 2013 4:33 PM

"thats a non sequitur, youre trying to turn a subjective value (your good looks) into an intersubjective proposition. Does not follow, objectively."

Nor does my asserting through argumentation that I have rights. I have rights, I consist of matter, therefore does all matter have rights? The causal factors are subjective since rights have no objective existence to point to.

"When you make a proposition the only premises you have affirmed are those necessary for argumentation, i.e. self-ownership. We arent discussing "ought" here, just facts."

Then you have proven that I own myself. This is not an objective justification for rights.

"and I have demonstrated a preference for my use of deadly force against a thief over my loss of property to theft. Now if I were to object to someone else's performance of same, it would be incoherent, and therefore an invalid argument. Hence I have affirmed the use of deadly force against criminal aggressors."

That's one way of looking at it. You have also demonstrated your preference to do what you desire. Therefore by this same logic you cannot object to others doing what they desire, no matter what it is.

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Malachi replied on Mon, Jan 7 2013 4:44 PM
The causal factors are subjective since rights have no objective existence to point to.
rights are a social construct. This construct (rights) is a necessary prequisite for the act of argumentation, for all parties involved. Thats your objective premise.
Then you have proven that I own myself. This is not an objective justification for rights.
so you agree that self-ownsership is presupposed by the act of arguing?
That's one way of looking at it. You have also demonstrated your preference to do what you desire. Therefore by this same logic you cannot object to others doing what they desire, no matter what it is.
the act wasnt justified through argument by appealing to my desires. It was justified by appealing to property rights. In any event desires are not objectively verifiable, only preferences are. I never accepted the premise you attempted to foist upon me, and so I can very well object without estopping myself.
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Neodoxy replied on Mon, Jan 7 2013 5:46 PM

"rights are a social construct. This construct (rights) is a necessary prequisite for the act of argumentation, for all parties involved. Thats your objective premise."

But that means nothing for actual prescription, there is no reason why I should respect your "right"?

"so you agree that self-ownsership is presupposed by the act of arguing?"

Define self-ownership. It can be shown that the mental being that constitutes "me" from an ontological aspect controls "my body", but nothing more. In this case might makes right must be respected.

"the act wasnt justified through argument by appealing to my desires. It was justified by appealing to property rights. In any event desires are not objectively verifiable, only preferences are. I never accepted the premise you attempted to foist upon me, and so I can very well object without estopping myself."

How so? You might have justified it that way with your words, but your actions are ultimately indistinguishable from just acting in your self-interest (if you adhere to praxeology).

Edit

So why is it a non-sequitur to appeal to my massive good looks but not to self-ownership as a reason to take or not to take something?

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Malachi replied on Mon, Jan 7 2013 6:56 PM
But that means nothing for actual prescription, there is no reason why I should respect your "right"?
argumentation ethics is about what is justifiable, not what "ought" to be respected. If you dont respect my rights and you arent willing to be persuaded to do so by argument, then youre simply a criminal. This isnt about which magic words will prevent all crimes forever. Its about what acts can be justified and what acts cannot.
Define self-ownership. It can be shown that the mental being that constitutes "me" from an ontological aspect controls "my body", but nothing more. In this case might makes right must be respected.
you want me to define self-ownership after you affirmed it? Ok, ownership is a social relation that constitutes an agreement between parties wherein the disposition of a thing at issue is the sole determination of the person whose property it is, hereinafter referred to as the "owner." "self-ownership" is the rightful posession and control of the corpus by the consciousness. I dont think that "might makes right" is coherent as a normative statement. As a description it is a truism as long as you agree with me that "unused might" is irrelevant or nonexistent.
How so? You might have justified it that way with your words, but your actions are ultimately indistinguishable from just acting in your self-interest (if you adhere to praxeology).
because it was justified through argument, i.e. words. If you propose to justify actions by appealing to one's own self-interest then you cant possibly make any coherent prohibitive declarations, including asserting that I may not interfere with another's actions.
So why is it a non-sequitur to appeal to my massive good looks but not to self-ownership as a reason to take or not to take something?
your opinion of your own attractiveness could help you to justify spending your own money on a helmet with face shield, in order to protect your values. It prevents you from coherently denying your own attractiveness. Your affirmation of self-ownership through argument prevents you from coherently denying the self-ownership of another arguer, because of estoppel. Ownership was acquired through homestead so you cant coherently object to homestead principles. If you didnt eat, drink, or breath you could (try to) claim that only bodies can be owned. But if you sustain your life with these things, you also affirm the homestead means of acquisitions. This prevents you from coherently claiming someone else's property over their objections. Estoppel. You could claim special priveleges for yourself but you would have to argue from first principles, of which there are none that assert special priveleges.
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Neodoxy replied on Mon, Jan 7 2013 9:07 PM

Would you agree with this definition of "Justify"?

1. Show or prove to be right or reasonable: the person appointed has fully justified our confidence

be a good reason for: the situation was grave enough to justify further investigation

If so then what is justifiable is subjective and will vary. For instance I can justify something with my good looks and others might think that it's an appropriate justification. YOU may not think that it is, but others might. Similarly I might not think that the fact you control your body is a justification for respecting your rights but you might. You can say that I'm "simply criminal" but this is using your judgment and your definition of criminality. The law that exists today states quite explicitly that if I'm the government and if I'm acting in accordance with certain procedures that I can violate your rights as much as I want and if you resist then YOU will be the criminal, not I.

"Ok, ownership is a social relation that constitutes an agreement between parties wherein the disposition of a thing at issue is the sole determination of the person whose property it is, hereinafter referred to as the "owner." "self-ownership" is the rightful posession and control of the corpus by the consciousness."

Sorry I'm not trying to be an ass but then can you define property and ownership? It would seem that the whole definition hinges upon those two words.

As for might makes right, the fact is that you will always control yourself, so the fact that you do control something means then that we are saying you should (or if you would prefer it is "justifiable" that you own something) then if I just seize everything from you then I become the rightful owner.

"because it was justified through argument, i.e. words. If you propose to justify actions by appealing to one's own self-interest then you cant possibly make any coherent prohibitive declarations, including asserting that I may not interfere with another's actions."

But that argument was in turn based upon your own desires, which may then be considered the ultimate source of the argument itself.

You seem to think that something can be universally "justifiable" while still including words like "rightful" and "justifiable" which are based upon opinion

And my attractiveness is a fact, not an opinion, BTW. Ask SkepticalMetal about it some time, he just loves when I talk like this.

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Malachi replied on Tue, Jan 8 2013 7:17 PM
If so then what is justifiable is subjective and will vary.
in this context I am using it to refer to logic, in this context its an objective statement.

given:

A) all bovines are cloven-hoofed

B) all cows are bovines

would you agree that the following is a justifiable proposition?

C) all cows have cloven hoofs

Thats the sense in which I am using "justified". If you think logic is a matter of opinion then we dont have much to discuss here. If you agree with me that logical justification is objectively ascertainable, then we can move on to putting AE in the form of a syllogism.

Sorry I'm not trying to be an ass but then can you define property and ownership? It would seem that the whole definition hinges upon those two words.
I'm pretty sure that the quote you responded to includes a definition of ownership. Here:
Malachi:
ownership is a social relation that constitutes an agreement between parties wherein the disposition of a thing at issue is the sole determination of the person whose property it is, hereinafter referred to as the "owner."
"property" is (a) scarce good(s) that are (is) recognized as being the exclusive purview of a specific person or persons.
As for might makes right, the fact is that you will always control yourself, so the fact that you do control something means then that we are saying you should (or if you would prefer it is "justifiable" that you own something) then if I just seize everything from you then I become the rightful owner.
I'm not sure what you mean here. If you assert that "might makes right" then you should never have any need of appealing to the rightness of anything. Thats one of the implications of AE, people who actually believe that might makes right dont try to convince others of this fact, they use their might to appropriate what they want. Your decision to engage in discourse affirms some things, one of which is that on some level you want me to consent to something. Lions dont attempt to persuade gazelle to become prey. If you assert that "might makes right" then you have no need of any appeal to rightness.
But that argument was in turn based upon your own desires, which may then be considered the ultimate source of the argument itself.
I havent justified anything by appealing to my desires. one could just as easily consider solar energy to be the ultimate source of the argument, thats where the calories I used to formulate it came from.
You seem to think that something can be universally "justifiable" while still including words like "rightful" and "justifiable" which are based upon opinion
it all depends on whether laws of thought (logic) are objective or not.
Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
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Neodoxy replied on Tue, Jan 8 2013 8:04 PM

1. But there is no objective way to actually determine rights. You're trying to apply objective language to a subjective matter. You can show that I have ownership over my own body but this means nothing in terms of a broad application of rights.

2. You are appealing to might makes right through argumentation ethics. You are stating that because I own and control myself that therefore I should control myself and I should have rights. There is no reason for this.

3. As for the ultimate reason thing, why it is that my being attractive means that I should have rights while you do not is ultimately irrelevant, I just have to have some reason. This is not displayed through argumentation that  I think that all humans should have rights or even do have rights, merely that I do.

4. If you are justifying in terms of logical necessity, then argumentation is, once again, nonsense because nothing is logically implied by argumentation beyond very specific things under specific circumstances.

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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Malachi replied on Tue, Jan 8 2013 8:30 PM
1. But there is no objective way to actually determine rights. You're trying to apply objective language to a subjective matter. You can show that I have ownership over my own body but this means nothing in terms of a broad application of rights.
well if I have misspoken then I apologize. All I mean to say is that only libertarian "rights" can be justified through argument without contradiction. Humans are still free to ignore those "rights," it isnt even necessary to discuss them. However, no other ethical system can be justified through reason.
2. You are appealing to might makes right through argumentation ethics. You are stating that because I own and control myself that therefore I should control myself and I should have rights. There is no reason for this.
no, it goes like this: by proposing anything, I affirm self-ownership. I cannot therefore propose anything contrary to self-ownership without inhabiting a performative contradiction. Theres no "should" involved. Just is. Arguing for communism is a performative contradiction. Its not a valid argument. This only means something to people who care about valid arguments. By engaging in argument, you implicitly affirm intersubjectively valid arguments. Therefore one cannot argue for communism coherently.
3. As for the ultimate reason thing, why it is that my being attractive means that I should have rights while you do not is ultimately irrelevant, I just have to have some reason. This is not displayed through argumentation that  I think that all humans should have rights or even do have rights, merely that I do.
if you didnt hope to persuade me of your reasons, you would not attempt to persuade me. Your conclusion does not follow from your premises (rights arent part of being good looking, however affirmation of self-ownership is part of the act of argumentation).
4. If you are justifying in terms of logical necessity, then argumentation is, once again, nonsense because nothing is logically implied by argumentation beyond very specific things under specific circumstances.
I suggest you reconsider. Some things are necessarily implicit in the act of discourse. The (belief in) existence of intersubjective meaning is a necessary prerequisite for argument. The existence of invalid arguments is also implied, because if every argument were valid we could simply make propositions that we liked without attempting to justify them. Argumentation even implies that we have something in common (language) otherwise we would be unintelligible to each other.
Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
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