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Argumentation Ethics, help me out

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Lady Saiga Posted: Thu, Jul 26 2012 11:13 AM

I've been through the Wikipedia article, and I frankly do not understand.  While I agree with all the individual examples given, such as the intellectual property business, I just can't get my brain around the actual argument.  What does this say, in any kind of simplistic terminology?

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ThatOldGuy replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 11:21 AM

Here.

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

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John James replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 11:33 AM

And here, and here

And...

Argumentation Ethics and Liberty: A Concise Guide

New Rationalist Directions in Libertarian Rights Theory [PDF]

Defending Argumentation Ethics: Reply to Murphy & Callahan...

"To fully appreciate Hoppe's argument and to fairly evaluate MC's critique, I suggest reading at least the following, in this order: (1) chapters 1 and 2 of TSC (esp. pp. 5-6 & 8-18, discussing notions of scarcity, aggression, property, norms, and justification); (2) chapter 9 of TSC, "The Ethical Justification of Capitalism and Why Socialism Is Morally Indefensible" (esp. pp. 130-145); (3) "Four Critical Replies"; and (4) my survey article "New Rationalist Directions in Libertarian Rights Theory." Then read MC's piece, in view of my following comments."

 

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Lady Saiga replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 11:51 AM

Ok, so having read the Hoppe quote, please check my understanding:

By arguing with you, I demonstrate that I know you capable of accepting my idea and implementing it, i.e. freely changing your mind.  Because I argue at all, I admit that you exclusively own yourself, and once I have done this I admit that compulsion is unethical due to its being a violation of your basic nature?

I'm just finding this language a little impermeable, bear with me.

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ThatOldGuy replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 12:01 PM

Lady Saiga:
Ok, so having read the Hoppe quote [...]

Which quote is this?

By arguing with you, I demonstrate that I know you capable of accepting my idea and implementing it, i.e. freely changing your mind.  Because I argue at all, I admit that you exclusively own yourself, and once I have done this I admit that compulsion is unethical due to its being a violation of your basic nature?

In essance, yes. By definition, argumentation precludes acts of violence or aggression (when either enters the scenario, the scenario is no longer an argument). Hoppe's argument is that argumentation requires a mutual respect of private property rights amongst the participants. His argument is that any ethic that advertises aggression (the initiation of an invasive act) is unjustifiable on pain of contradiction; his argument does not preclude compulsion (i.e. you steal money from me and a security firm finds you and takes my property back from you). The way you phrase his stance as a "violation of your basic nature" is not specific and unnecessary.

NB: Hoppe's ethic pertains only to situations in which one attempts to justify a solution to a conflict.

 

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

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So the part I understood is that by entering dialogue I admit that both you and I have self ownership and the ability to initiate change from within, i.e. freedom of action.

Now, get me the rest of the way to the NAP please, because evidently I didn't do it.  The source of my confusion is this: say I DON'T enter into dialogue?  Say  I believe that I have freedom of action but you do not, and because I believe you're a lower life form or something I just impose my will upon you?  If I'm not trying to justify my action to the victim but only to myself, am I not in error according to argumentation ethics?

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Hi Nielsio, thanks for that link, in some ways it clarified what my question was leading to, but I'm still pretty fuzzy about the differences between the consequences of

a) Believing that ethics have concrete justification, that they can be argued down to the point of One and Only Right Answer somehow, or

b) Believing that ethics can be justified in myriad ways, that is that ethics are commodities with values that change over time and that's all there is to it

Which I believe is the contrast you're drawing in the first part of that article between Hoppean (a) and Misesean (b) conceptions of ethics.  Or are these compatible ideas?  Or am I off the deep end?  I guess I'm not clear on how they can be said to lead to the same general place in terms of libertarian values.

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Lady Saiga:

So the part I understood is that by entering dialogue I admit that both you and I have self ownership and the ability to initiate change from within, i.e. freedom of action.

Now, get me the rest of the way to the NAP please, because evidently I didn't do it.

No, you did. The first sentence is untenable, but for the assumption of the NAP. By accepting that I own my body, by accepting an interpersonal recognition of each other's rights to his/her body by virtue of arguing, you cannot concurrently hold the belief that you can invade my body (aggression) on pain of contradiction.

If I'm not trying to justify my action to the victim but only to myself, am I not in error according to argumentation ethics?

Insofar as one attempts to justify one's actions in an ethical conflict, one must do so in accordance with Hoppe's argument (according to Hoppe). If you aggress against another, it doesn't follow that you've committed no wrong. Only that, because you've made no attempt to justify your actions or resolve the conflict via argument, argumentation ethics does not apply to the situation at hand. You're not in error only because argumentation ethics does not apply because there is no ethical conflict in our situation; it's just a physical conflict.

Ethics only enters the situation when there is an appeal to justify an action.

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

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

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I would give a different answer to ThatOldGuy.

Whether you 'try' in any particular circumstance to justify an action is beside the point. Argumentation Ethics is an impossibility proof.

A proof that ANY ethic not compatible with Argumentation (to wit, homesteading + NAP) is simply self-refuting. only Ethical theories which are possible are possible after all. Homesteading and the NAP are the minimal set required for a possibly justifiable ethic. Its the only viable candidate, and your NAP breaking action can therefore be categorised as immoral.

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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Nielsio replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 3:11 PM

Lady Saiga,

The question is what ethics is.

More elaboration from my camp, in videos 2, 4 and 5 @ http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA7FF865D89D7720C . 4 and 5 are based on Mises Daily articles. 2 was made entirely by me.

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Wheylous replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 3:15 PM

Jj, the TSC links don't work.

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nirgrahamUK:
Whether you 'try' in any particular circumstance to justify an action is beside the point. Argumentation Ethics is an impossibility proof.

The question LaidySaiga asked was if she violates argumentation ethics by not justifying her actions. Upon analysis of the actions (any act of aggression as you point out), an understanding of argumentation ethics on the part of someone can demonstrate that such actions are indefensible. But if someone were to simply aggress against another without any attempt of justifcation, then Hoppe's argument doesn't apply.

He brings the example in A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism of trying to argue with an elephant. Such an argument cannot be had. The problem of how to avoid conflict with an elephant is therefore a technical one, not an ethical one. The scenario here is somewhat different in that LadySaiga poses the example of some one who does not attempt to justify his actions whereby she, independent from the example provided, asks if the action is justifiable in that case (which can understandably lead to confusion).

So LadySaiga the criminal doesn't attempt to justify her aggression while LadySaiga the forum poster is asking if argumentation ethics deems such actions as justifiable. The criminal makes no attempt at all to justify her actions and therefore does not propose "ANY ethic." Argumentation ethics does not apply to the situation at hand: How can argumentation ethics apply if there is no argument made?

 

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

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NirgrahamUK, please break down your statements for me, explain why homesteading and the NAP are the minimal set required for a possibly justifiable ethic?  From what you said I sort of got the following:

An ethic is an argument, that is a statement that requires justification.

Thus to ask if a thing is right or wrong, is to make it an ethical question is to make it an argument.  Thus it can be evaluated for consistency and found wanting if the action was an aggression against an individual?  That because dialogue is possible in one sense (the theoretical consideration of the ethic) it is possible in the instance of the action in question, and if dialogue was not used, the aggression was inconsistent?

I'm more confused now.  How does this reasoning make sense when you're talking about actions against things that aren't considered to have free will, like a rock or a dog or something?  Are these types of actions not possible to evaluate as ethical questions?  I feel myself going off into left field.

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[W]hy homesteading and the NAP are the minimal set required for a possibly justifiable ethic?

This is according to Hoppe. This is the crux of what Hoppe argues is presupposed by argument.

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[W]hy homesteading and the NAP are the minimal set required for a possibly justifiable ethic?

This is according to Hoppe. This is the crux of what Hoppe argues is presupposed by argument.

Well, I really was hoping someone would explain how.  Draw me a picture?  I am totally failing to see where the light bulb moment is in this argument.

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Have you perused all of the resources provided above?

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

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Sigh.  I can't view the videos, and the articles I've dived into confuse me.  This is why I asked here.  How do you get, in the simplest possible language, from argumentation ethics to NAP/homesteading, because what I understood of the argumentation theory as expressed in my first couple of responses just doesn't follow all the way through.  I get that it was supposed to be obvious to me from nirgrahamUK's posting, but it wasn't.  I have steps A and C but can't comprehend B.  I'm not a philosopher and I never studied logic.

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Wheylous:
Jj, the TSC links don't work.

Yeah you'll find that a lot with the personal websites of a lot of these scholars.  They move stuff around and delete stuff all the time, apparently.  I have no idea why the hell they do that without setting up the proper redirects.  As you can see it f's up references that are linked in god knows how many places.

Notice I didn't create those links, that paragraph is simply a quote from Kinsella from the link above it.

Luckily, you can find TSC in its entirety in the links provided here.

 

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NAP and homesteading are necessary and sufficient for argumentation to be possible.

In short, if an argument is to be had on its merits rather than what force can be mustered then aggression in not compatible with argumentation. What is the subject of the aggression, the body of the arguer. Homesteading is the first user acquistion of property. The body is the first thing the mind which is emergent from the body homesteads, it is also through homesteading previosuly unowned objects that propert in the material world is brought into the use of men, and becomes candidates for possible conflict. 

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

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Lady Saiga:
Sigh.  I can't view the videos, and the articles I've dived into confuse me.

What about the audio here, from this link?

 

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NAP and homesteading are necessary and sufficient for argumentation to be possible.

[Are these two concepts the ONLY bases upon which argumentation is possible?  I'm not asking leading questions here, I just don't know.]

In short, if an argument is to be had on its merits rather than what force can be mustered then aggression in not compatible with argumentation.

[I understood this part!  Yay!]

What is the subject of the aggression, the body of the arguer. Homesteading is the first user acquistion of property. The body is the first thing the mind which is emergent from the body homesteads, it is also through homesteading previosuly unowned objects that propert in the material world is brought into the use of men, and becomes candidates for possible conflict. 

[OK, thanks very much sir, I think with this info I can read the documentation with a little bit more chance of picking up what it's really trying to say]

I was having a technology meltdown yesterday.  I promise to follow up on everybody's suggested reading, and I'll probably post new questions down the line.  I think the "what is Ethics" question deserves my research perhaps first...

My big problem is that I'm not able to follow through what I consider to be rational practical applications of libertarian thought back to their foundations in philosophy, because I was never taught much coherent philosophy and never really read any on my own.  I'm easily convinced by each author I pick up because I have no frame of reference.  I'm trying to rectify this now, because I need to be able to spell out my beliefs in a way I feel can't be easily challenged.

 

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