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Actual Logical Proof of Natural Law

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AJ:

ivanfoofoo:
The libertarian natural rights try to establish that initiating active physical aggression is immoral; I think that if we are a little civilized we can get this idea.

If "immoral" were unambiguously defined, we could at least attempt to evaluate the idea. Until then, with the many possible interpretations of "immoral," there notion is cannot even be evaluated and argued for/against without assuming a definition (thereby inviting accusations of strawmanning).

We can take a Kantian approach:

The Formulation Rule of Kantianism:

  1. Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law.
  2. Act so that you always treat others as an end, and never as a means to an end only.

We should now focus on "alternative" natural rights that follow that rules.

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what do i logically mean by 'wrong' ? 
wait a sec, what do you logically mean by 'logically false'

 

 

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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AJ replied on Fri, Aug 7 2009 10:08 PM

ivanfoofoo:

  1. Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law.
  2. Act so that you always treat others as an end, and never as a means to an end only.

We should now focus on "alternative" natural rights that follow that rules.

Something like, "Only act how you want everyone else to act." These axioms seem appealing, but this is not what I ask for in the OP. In fact, that very appeal points toward the idea that natural rights are appropriately deemed a purely persuasive notion, rather than something to be logically proven or disproven. Again, I mean no offense to any concept by calling it "purely persuasive."

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Lilburne:
Why would you want positions that do have important differentiae to have the same name?  You seem like a nice guy, so I would hope it's not a tactical ploy... lumping decent people like me, who differ with you regarding meta-ethics, but who subjectively regard the state as evil, along with quasi-Machiavellians who deny good/evil altogether-- and the stigma attached to them.

they have important differences like libertarian socialism has important differences between marxist socialism, and fascism. i think you know how this one goes... 

you are appealing to subjective decency, and not to any objective decency that youd think it possible for me to have received objective knowledge about.
the way morality is being gutted so as to loose its objectivity is to throw out the very thing that makes morality different from subjective preference.

sure, i can conceive of moral subjectivists and relativists hating the state, like they hate bad pop music, and being overcharged on bills, and so they are allies against the state. they can understand krugman is a peddler of economic fallacies, they can be aesthetically attuned and aware of societal consequences that they choose to act in ways that a moral die-hard would act, and so they can be beyond reproach on a moral level. well and good.

but they have abandoned the moral project. which is to discover the laws/facts of morality.

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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AJ replied on Fri, Aug 7 2009 10:14 PM

nirgrahamUK:

what do i logically mean by '[morally] wrong' ?
wait a sec, what do you logically mean by 'logically false'

I'll let this stand.

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AJ:
I'll let this stand.

ok, this is cool and all, but the point to take home is not to ask people what they logically mean

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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Vitor replied on Fri, Aug 7 2009 10:19 PM

Dear jdcoffey, using God as an argument will not help the cause, and you know why. Im atheist and Im sure many here are either atheist or agnostic.

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AJ replied on Fri, Aug 7 2009 10:27 PM

What I find strange, nirgraham, is that I thought I recalled you defining "morally wrong" as "producing bad consequences," where "bad" is still not fully clear but could at least be narrowed down to a few possible meanings. Nevermind what we both "logically" mean, all I am saying is that "false" is reasonably unambiguous, but "morally wrong" is not. Do you disagree?

The following is pure speculation, but I suspect - possibly - the reason you feel inclined to regard words like "ought" and "wrong" as atomic is because they are actually just expressions of approval or disapproval, or similar. If they stand for emotions, they cannot be reduced further, just as emotions cannot be. I am nearing a similar sort of "conclusion" (about others) myself, but then I can't call it a conclusion because then I would be proven wrong by everyone who themselves defined "ought" and "wrong" differently. Definitions are the heart of the matter, if not the ONLY matter.

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nirgrahamUK:
but they have abandoned the moral project. which is to discover the laws/facts of morality.

We just recognize the incoherence of that particular moral project.  Plus I believe I have more faith in the inherent decency of the preponderance of humanity than your side does.  Man does not need to be indoctrinated with an incoherent syllogistic theory to do what's right; he need only be un-indoctrinated regarding the factual lies of the state.

To paraphrase what I've written before...

For most of us, liberal principles are written on our hearts. They are moral axioms that are present in the heart of most any man who isn’t mixed up by the sophistries of the state. A man doesn’t need to understand the politics of war to know that murder is wrong; neither need he understand how markets work to know that stealing is wrong. If it weren’t for state propaganda, there would be no need for libertarian intellectualism. Unfortunately the state, through its false economics and false political philosophy, has convinced mankind that the world is in a constant state of extremity, such that, without some men being given the power to murder, steal, and enslave with impunity (to commit "necessary evils"), the lifeboat of society will keel over and everybody will drown. False theory can only be fought effectively with true theory. The role of a libertarian intellectual therefore is not to weave intricate theories to justify justice itself (there is no need for that); rather it is to UNWEAVE the tangled fabric of state lies. That is why we need economics and political philosophy: to show exactly how the state’s purported necessary evils aren't actually necessary, and thereby destroy the impediments to their natural liberalism.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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AJ:
Do you you agree?

no i dont. false, is a difficult concept to justify when you are talking of knowledge about the world. what is. 

AJ:
The following is pure speculation, but I suspect - possibly - the reason you feel inclined to regard words like "ought" and "wrong" as atomic is because they are actually just expressions of approval or disapproval, or similar.

no i express disapproval of wrong actions. sometimes i hear about something on the news, and i don't disapprove or approve of it. i think about it . i realise that its morally permissable or impermissable. then i will say that i approve or dissaprove of it. but thats a definite step that comes after i figure out wheether its wrong or right (to the best of my knowledge)

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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Lilburne:
man doesn’t need to understand the politics of war to know that murder is wrong

so. your allowed to say that murder is wrong. but i am not allowed to say it. because im a moral realist that believes in objective ethics. 

what is going on ....?

Lilburne:
hat is why we need economics and political philosophy: to show exactly how the state’s purported necessary evils aren't actually necessary, and thereby destroy the impediments to their natural liberalism.

yes, but maybe they arent evil since evil is just relative to whoevers opinion of evil you are asking.
if you should ask the statist... how owuld he respond...... 'im not evil, im good!' ........ ok then that was worthwhile and constructive. all the morality we need.

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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AJ replied on Fri, Aug 7 2009 10:39 PM

Lilburne:
The role of a libertarian intellectual therefore is not to weave intricate theories to justify justice itself (there is no need for that); rather it is to UNWEAVE the tangled fabric of state lies.

Well put!

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AJ replied on Fri, Aug 7 2009 10:46 PM

nirgrahamUK:

AJ:
Do you you agree?

no i dont. false, is a difficult concept to justify when you are talking of knowledge about the world. what is. 

I asked whether you think the meaning of "false" is reasonably unambiguous. I didn't ask if it could be "justified."

nirgrahamUK:

AJ:
The following is pure speculation, but I suspect - possibly - the reason you feel inclined to regard words like "ought" and "wrong" as atomic is because they are actually just expressions of approval or disapproval, or similar.

no i express disapproval of wrong actions. sometimes i hear about something on the news, and i don't disapprove or approve of it. i think about it . i realise that its morally permissable or impermissable. then i will say that i approve or dissaprove of it. but thats a definite step that comes after i figure out wheether its wrong or right (to the best of my knowledge)

So, how do you go about figuring out whether it is wrong or right?

 

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laminustacitus:
....

Well let us deduce what violence is in terms of behavior. Violence involves conquest, anger, suppression, coercion while non violence involves pacificsm, harmony, peace, in some cases apathy. Now you suggest that in order to become civil, the nonviolent aspect of man's mind must become the very thing that is its polar opposite. So what you suggest is that in order to become civil we must become uncivil to harness our uncivil side. I hope you see the ridiculousness of this outlook.

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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AJ:
I asked whether you think the meaning of "false" is reasonably unambiguous. I didn't ask if it could be "justified."

it can have varied subtle different meanings under different contexts, but im well practiced enough in using 'false' and talking to people that use it similarly that i am confident in my use of it, and this makes unambigious a fine word to use to describe my relationship with it. 

so too, morally wrong. i am well practiced. i engage with people that use the term, to refine my knowledge of the use of the term. perhaps you are merely suffering from a lack of practice. a question of familiarity.?

AJ:
So, how do you go about figuring out whether it is wrong or right?

i have my store of moral facts and principles which i have accumulated, and use that to look for key features in the story, which i then evaluate. you will be familiar with many of these. raw terms and the principles that string them together. aggression, initation, property, innocent. moral agent. etc. 

i dont think i can reasonably be expected to give you a full mind-dump by typing on a forum....

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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nirgrahamUK:
so. your allowed to say that murder is wrong. but i am not allowed to say it.

If you subjectively deem murder is wrong, as do most people, then you are eagerly invited to say it.  But it makes no sense to try to establish it as an objective fact.

nirgrahamUK:
yes, but maybe they arent evil since evil is just relative to whoevers opinion of evil you are asking.
if you should ask the statist... how owuld he respond...

I wouldn't ask a statist such a useless question, or try to prove him wrong by trying to derive "ought" from "is".

I might, however, ask him whether he feels stealing, assault, and enslavement are wrong.  If he answers affirmitavely, I would then prove him incoherent by deriving "ought" from "ought" and showing him that he is actually promoting stealing, assault, and enslavement.

If he then objects that state stealing, state assault, and state enslavement are necessary evils, I would introduce him to Austrian economics to show him that they are not in fact necessary.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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Angurse replied on Fri, Aug 7 2009 11:03 PM

Anarchist Cain:
I did with my second response.

Please explain/elaborate, as I found nothing.

Anarchist Cain:
Existence is action.

No. Action requires a purpose and guided bodily movements. Going fishing is an action, getting sick isn't. People in a coma exist, they do not act though.

Anarchist Cain:
Then we are no longer in the world of reason, logic or reality.

Ok...so? By your bizarre position, you now believe that there is a world devoid of logic, reason, or reality because you are speaking of it.

Anarchist Cain:
Look, you just proved what you asked me to prove.

Look up the word "proof" - you won't find it in my question, (which you still haven't directly answered.)

Anarchist Cain:
Therefore one cannot be an atheist and speculate on God. They could be agnostic, but that is not the same as an atheist.

Therefore? Therefore? How did you get therefore? I asked you to prove how speculating about something implicitly establishes the existence of something and I've gotten nothing. This assertion you are making is simply unfounded.

"I am an aristocrat. I love liberty, I hate equality."
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Stephen replied on Fri, Aug 7 2009 11:19 PM

AJ:

Stephen Forde:

@ the OP

How about Hoppe's From the Economics of Laissez Faire to the Ethics of Libertarianism? It owes nothing to the Natural Law tradition. However, it still conforms to the Natural Law tradition which holds that "universally valid norms can be discerned by means of reason as grounded in the very nature of man."

Thank you, Stephen.

I read the applicable section on pp. 64-65 (emphasis mine).

Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

It is only as long as there is at least an implicit recognition of each individual's property right in his or her own body that argumentation can take place.

No, Hoppe, to make the statement correct you would have to replace "an implicit recognition" with "a degree of non-violation." However, one's non-violation of a right does not imply one's recognition (implicit or otherwise) of a right. Else doing nothing to "violate" a murderer's "right" to murder would consitution a recognition of the murderer's "right" to murder.

To fulfill my duty of charitable interpretations I will attempt to rephrase Hoppe's statement to something a bit more precise in the same spirit:

"It is only as long as there is an implicit recognition no violation of each individual's right not to be hindered in speaking freely that argumentation can take place."

But again, non-violation does not imply recognition. Hoppe's argument goes nowhere. However, it does serve as a good illustration of how being loose with words lets you derive any conclusion you want.

I believe that you are mistaken.


In this work, “an implicit recognition” is not interchangeable with “a degree of non-violation.” “An implicit recognition” is actually a specific case of “a degree of non-violation.” If you substitute the other in the sentence loses some of its meaning although it is still true.


Now why does argumentation imply an implicit recognition of a right to one’s body and not just non-violation?


First, the difference between action and behaviour must be recognized. If I am walking to the local convenience store to buy some juice, this is an action. I may also be moving north, swinging my arms, staying to the right side of the sidewalk, and so on. These are all examples of behaviour. They are not something cognitively reflected upon. Also, not killing anyone along the way is behaviour. The thought simply doesn’t cross my mind and can’t be considered a part of the action.


What does it mean to implicitly recognize?


If I am writing a simple mathematical equation such as “2+2=4”, I explicitly recognize that “2” “+” “2” “=” “4”. I implicitly recognize the rules of logic, such as the law of non-contradiction, the principle of counting, my ability to judge propositions as being true or false and so on. This is because all of these must be presupposed for “2+2=4” to be true. So my writing the mathematical equation implies them. If I were to reflect on these facts as I write the equation, they would be explicitly recognized. If I do not, they are only implicitly recognized. This is only true however, if the equation is a representation of meaningful concepts and not mere scribbles on a page.


For any proposition of be meaningful, its proponent must have full control over their means of expression (body) . The proponent must be just as free to suggest any other proposition. Otherwise, it cannot be considered a genuine expression of their thoughts. So an opponent in the argument, must not only not interfere with the proponent’s body to have a meaningful argument. He must recognize his opponent as not being interfered with, for his propositions to be meaningful. There is an underlying norm (right) which is presupposed when one recognizes his opponent’s propositions as being meaningful. And this recognition is part of an action. It is not mere behaviour.



So, I think Hoppe has been careful with his words. You changed the argument and took it out of context. Then you attacked your new argument. I think Hoppe’s original argument is fine, as far as it goes.

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AJ replied on Fri, Aug 7 2009 11:43 PM

nirgrahamUK:
i engage with people that use the term, to refine my knowledge of the use of the term. perhaps you are merely suffering from a lack of practice. a question of familiarity.?

Interesting. I will think on that.

nirgrahamUK:

AJ:
So, how do you go about figuring out whether it is wrong or right?

i have my store of moral facts and principles which i have accumulated, and use that to look for key features in the story, which i then evaluate. you will be familiar with many of these. raw terms and the principles that string them together. aggression, initation, property, innocent. moral agent. etc. 

i dont think i can reasonably be expected to give you a full mind-dump by typing on a forum....

Right, just wanted a summary. I believe I do this, too, in a way. I have identified a moral sense in myself, which I would tentatively define as my (emotional) sense of empathy + sense of justice, and logical reasonings based on assuming those feelings are valid (for myself only!).

You seem to be saying that by discussing with other people you are refining your sense of what "right" and "wrong" mean. In that sense, can I conclude that your conception of right and wrong is based on the norms and mores of the people you habitually associate? I suppose my personal sense of what is acceptable or not are influenced highly by my friends and family as well. However, I wouldn't purport my moral sense to be universal (hence not "ethics" as I understand them - aren't "ethics" for others?), other than that perhaps biological senses of empathy and justice may be built in to a degree - but I haven't read such research so do not know.

I think I have made my point about semantics, so I'll lay off the prying for nowAngel

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Juan replied on Fri, Aug 7 2009 11:51 PM
Lilburne:
I might, however, ask him whether he feels stealing, assault, and enslavement are wrong. If he answers affirmitavely, I would then prove him incoherent by deriving "ought" from "ought" and showing him that he is actually promoting stealing, assault, and enslavement.
Sorry, there's no such thing as stealing when the gov't does it because the government decides what is legal and what is not. You don't own what you call your property - so the government is not stealing. Only people with limited mental abilities would claim that taxation is theft.

February 17 - 1600 - Giordano Bruno is burnt alive by the catholic church.
Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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AJ replied on Sat, Aug 8 2009 12:07 AM

Stephen Forde:
So an opponent in the argument, must not only not interfere with the proponent’s body to have a meaningful argument. He must recognize his opponent as not being interfered with, for his propositions to be meaningful.

OK, however...

Stephen Forde:
There is an underlying norm (right) which is presupposed when one recognizes his opponent’s propositions as being meaningful.

...this is a jump. Using a man and woman for clarity of pronouns: Although a man must recognize that his opponent was in fact able to freely express herself at the time she made her propositions, that does not mean that he must himself recognize any of her rights (or recognize any of her rights as valid, or even as existing, or even as "rights" being a meaningful concept).

Stephen Forde:
So, I think Hoppe has been careful with his words. You changed the argument and took it out of context. Then you attacked your new argument. I think Hoppe’s original argument is fine, as far as it goes.

Hoppe's original statement said too much: "It is only as long as there is at least an implicit recognition of each individual's property right in his or her own body that argumentation can take place" (emphasis mine). But there need be no implicit recognition, as I just showed.

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Juan:
Lilburne:
I might, however, ask him whether he feels stealing, assault, and enslavement are wrong. If he answers affirmitavely, I would then prove him incoherent by deriving "ought" from "ought" and showing him that he is actually promoting stealing, assault, and enslavement.
Sorry, there's no such thing as stealing when the gov't does it because the government decides what is legal and what is not. You don't own what you call your property - so the government is not stealing. Only people with limited mental abilities would claim that taxation is theft.

Lilburne did not use the term 'moral subjectivism' in the sense that whatever an individual or government precribes will automatically make that prescription 'right'.  Lilburne instead has used the term 'moral subjectivism' in the descriptive sense that humans have empathy and remorse which he has categorized as 'subjective' 'preferences'.

Lilburne wants to spread the idea that 'ethical systems' presuppose that the believer of the 'ethical system' has a sense of empathy and caring about other people.  Otherwise, he will have no incentive to enforce the 'ethical system' because he has no sense of empathy to care about other people.  Lilburne has labeled this idea under the ambiguous term 'moral subjectivism'.

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scyg replied on Sat, Aug 8 2009 9:50 AM

I think a lot of you are missing the point that subjectivity does not preclude consensus. On the other hand, objectivity requires a single frame of reference, which in the case of morals would be most difficult (I would argue impossible) to determine.

There just ain't such a thing as a "natural law" - all prescriptive laws are set by humans. Live with it.

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Natural rights are.

Life is.

Liberty is.

Property is.

Without these rights that are, then no defining will happen.  No exploring can even occur without these rights.  How do you explore human nature or otherwise without living (life), choosing [(liberty) i.e. without being able to choose to explore this, that, or other], or person [(property) i.e. without being the human that you are? can't  

As for natural law:  A=A (law of noncontradiction), etc...

 

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Stephen replied on Sat, Aug 8 2009 10:25 AM

AJ:

Stephen Forde:
So an opponent in the argument, must not only not interfere with the proponent’s body to have a meaningful argument. He must recognize his opponent as not being interfered with, for his propositions to be meaningful.

OK, however...

Stephen Forde:
There is an underlying norm (right) which is presupposed when one recognizes his opponent’s propositions as being meaningful.

...this is a jump. Using a man and woman for clarity of pronouns: Although a man must recognize that his opponent was in fact able to freely express herself at the time she made her propositions, that does not mean that he must himself recognize any of her rights (or recognize any of her rights as valid, or even as existing, or even as "rights" being a meaningful concept).

Stephen Forde:
So, I think Hoppe has been careful with his words. You changed the argument and took it out of context. Then you attacked your new argument. I think Hoppe’s original argument is fine, as far as it goes.

Hoppe's original statement said too much: "It is only as long as there is at least an implicit recognition of each individual's property right in his or her own body that argumentation can take place" (emphasis mine). But there need be no implicit recognition, as I just showed.

Having a right (justified claim) means being permitted to do as one pleases with the good they have a right to. We could just as easily replace the word right with interpersonal norm of non-interference w.r.t. the given object. And then we could have a theory of norms instead of rights. I think you are getting to caught up on word choice and are ignoring the meaningful concepts they represent.

How about you give me your theory of epistemology, so that we know we're on the same page when it comes to terminology and reasoning. Then we can argue over whether or not ethics fit into this theory and come to a common agreement. Sound good?

This will be my last reply for a while.

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Stephen replied on Sat, Aug 8 2009 10:35 AM

wilderness:

Natural rights are.

Life is.

Liberty is.

Property is.

Natural rights are

Murder is.

Enslavement is.

Crime is.

See? We have the natural right to do these thing.

wilderness:
Without these rights that are, then no defining will happen.  No exploring can even occur without these rights.  How do you explore human nature or otherwise without living (life), choosing [(liberty) i.e. without being able to choose to explore this, that, or other], or person [(property) i.e. without being the human that you are? can't  

The fact is, in the short run at least, criminals and state agents are able to do more of these thing as a result of their activities.

Do you see what's wrong with trying to derive an ethical theory from action in general rather than argumentation in particular?

wilderness:
A=A (law of noncontradiction)

I believe that is the law of identity

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Stephen Forde:

wilderness:

Natural rights are.

Life is.

Liberty is.

Property is.

Natural rights are

Murder is.

Enslavement is.

Crime is.

See? We have the natural right to do these thing.

No, the problem is your logic and who knows what else for I said:

Life is.

Liberty is.

Property is.

and have pointed out that these are natural rights...Anybody can call an orange an apple but that doesn't mean it's truly an apple...  A is not non-A... (you were correct)...

 

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AJ replied on Sat, Aug 8 2009 5:49 PM

Stephen Forde:

AJ:

Using a man and woman for clarity of pronouns: Although a man must recognize that his opponent was in fact able to freely express herself at the time she made her propositions, that does not mean that he must himself recognize any of her rights (or recognize any of her rights as valid, or even as existing, or even as "rights" being a meaningful concept).

Stephen Forde:
So, I think Hoppe has been careful with his words. You changed the argument and took it out of context. Then you attacked your new argument. I think Hoppe’s original argument is fine, as far as it goes.

Hoppe's original statement said too much: "It is only as long as there is at least an implicit recognition of each individual's property right in his or her own body that argumentation can take place" (emphasis mine). But there need be no implicit recognition, as I just showed.

Having a right (justified claim) means being permitted to do as one pleases with the good they have a right to. We could just as easily replace the word right with interpersonal norm of non-interference w.r.t. the given object.

Under any terminology I have seen, no "right," "justified claim," or "interpersonal norm of non-interference" is required in order for someone to have mere knowledge that someone else's argument was given freely and without coercion. It's common sense to see that any person who has spoken, has spoken freely precisely if and only if that person's speech has not actually been coerced. Rights, justified claims, etc. are unnecessary for that knowledge.

What Hoppe apparently tried to do was make the word "recognition" mean two different things: 1. knowledge, and 2. belief in rights as valid.

Hoppe seems to want to say: "You must recognize (know) that the person has spoken freely. Therefore, you must recognize (believe as valid) the fact that the person has right the right to speak freely." He cannot have it both ways.

Stephen Forde:
How about you give me your theory of epistemology, so that we know we're on the same page when it comes to terminology and reasoning.

The onus is on the one expounding the proof to explain any non-standard/non-obvious terminology or epistemological foundations. It would be like a mathematician walking up to me and saying, "i = the square root of -1," and I say, "How can negative numbers have square roots?" And he says to me, "Well how about you give me your take on number theory?"

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Stephen replied on Sun, Aug 9 2009 9:53 PM

AJ:
Under any terminology I have seen, no "right," "justified claim," or "interpersonal norm of non-interference" is required in order for someone to have mere knowledge that someone else's argument was given freely and without coercion. It's common sense to see that any person who has spoken, has spoken freely precisely if and only if that person's speech has not actually been coerced. Rights, justified claims, etc. are unnecessary for that knowledge.

You seem to be using recognition and knowing interchangeably. I don't think you can, or at least not in this context. Knowing is passive. It's mere behaviour. I could be walking down the street as an action and just happen to know something. Recognition, on the other hand is an action. It means that I am deliberating and coming to some conclusion about the truth of a proposition. While usually the difference in common speech is unimportant, in this case it is because, what we are arguing over is the difference between actively acting in accordance with a norm and passively not coercing.

AJ:

What Hoppe apparently tried to do was make the word "recognition" mean two different things: 1. knowledge, and 2. belief in rights as valid.

Hoppe seems to want to say: "You must recognize (know) that the person has spoken freely. Therefore, you must recognize (believe as valid) the fact that the person has right the right to speak freely." He cannot have it both ways.

I would say that what he means is, understanding that a proposition is true. In this case, it means understanding that there exists an underlying norm adopted by both participants in the argument.

AJ:
The onus is on the one expounding the proof to explain any non-standard/non-obvious terminology or epistemological foundations. It would be like a mathematician walking up to me and saying, "i = the square root of -1," and I say, "How can negative numbers have square roots?" And he says to me, "Well how about you give me your take on number theory?"

It would seem to me that the mathematician, rather than copping out, is willing to use your definitions to do his proof since you reject his definitions.

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Stephen replied on Sun, Aug 9 2009 9:58 PM

You have your natural rights theory and I have mine. And it's natural. Just look at the empirical evidence. And anything that's natural must be right. So murder, enslavement, and crime are right.

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AJ replied on Mon, Aug 10 2009 2:45 AM

Stephen Forde:

AJ:

What Hoppe apparently tried to do was make the word "recognition" mean two different things: 1. knowledge, and 2. belief in rights as valid.

Hoppe seems to want to say: "You must recognize (know) that the person has spoken freely. Therefore, you must recognize (believe as valid) the fact that the person has the right to speak freely." He cannot have it both ways.

I would say that what he means is, understanding that a proposition is true. In this case, it means understanding that there exists an underlying norm adopted by both participants in the argument.

In that case, Hoppe's statement is a simple non sequitur: "You must understand as true that the person has spoken freely. Therefore, you must understand as true that there is an underlying norm adopted by both participants in an argument." In other words, "The fact that each person spoke freely implies that each person adopted certain norms toward the other participants." That clearly does not follow.

After all, in many situations it is impossible for either party to coerce each other during the argument anyway. Consider two men conducting a philosophical argument over the telephone, one in Japan and one in New York, where neither man has the ability to coerce the other. No rights or norms need be mutually recognized for them to merely know that each is making uncoerced statements."

Nevermind that Hoppe starts with the underlying notion that an ethical theory can only be justified in an argument, implying that Hoppe's ethical theory wasn't justified until he argued about it with someone else(!!). Besides being patently ridiculous, it appears to include an inverse ad hominem fallacy for good measure. He also hints at an appeal to psychology fallacy with his talk of the arguer being uncoerced. Or else, he means justified to mean something other than "valid," hence allowing any ethical principle at all to still be valid.

And even in the fairy-tale world where Hoppe's non sequitur holds, he still has nothing to say about those who would advocate that everyone with kidneys be forced to give up one kidney for scientific research. After all, the advocate may well have given up his kidney, and people can still argue fine with one kidney. Hoppe fails even on his own terms.

I do not here advance any ethical position myself. I only point out that Hoppe's logic here is flawed beyond repair, and I hope he comes to grips with this so as to advance libertarianism on a sound basis and not open himself up to easy demolition like this, because the casual observer may throw out the baby (strong arguments for libertarianism) with the bathwater (glaringly fallacious arguments like the argument of Hoppe's we are discussing).

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It is basically a gigantic fallacy.

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scineram replied on Mon, Aug 10 2009 10:45 AM

Stephen Forde:

AJ:
The onus is on the one expounding the proof to explain any non-standard/non-obvious terminology or epistemological foundations. It would be like a mathematician walking up to me and saying, "i = the square root of -1," and I say, "How can negative numbers have square roots?" And he says to me, "Well how about you give me your take on number theory?"

It would seem to me that the mathematician, rather than copping out, is willing to use your definitions to do his proof since you reject his definitions.

Not necessarily. I would show him how to get complexes in the same framework he got the reals. :D

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The onus is on the one expounding the proof to explain any non-standard/non-obvious terminology or epistemological foundations. It would be like a mathematician walking up to me and saying, "i = the square root of -1," and I say, "How can negative numbers have square roots?" And he says to me, "Well how about you give me your take on number theory?"

He is asking you to clarify the way you use certain words that are highly prone to ambiguity for the discussion to proceed more smoothly; hardly an unreasonable request.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Stephen replied on Mon, Aug 10 2009 12:34 PM

AJ:
In that case, Hoppe's statement is a simple non sequitur: "You must understand as true that the person has spoken freely. Therefore, you must understand as true that there is an underlying norm adopted by both participants in an argument." In other words, "The fact that each person spoke freely implies that each person adopted certain norms toward the other participants." That clearly does not follow.

So it's not normal for people to not coerce each other when they enter into an argument? Is that really what you are arguing? This isn't a mode of operation that is necessarily adopted?

AJ:
After all, in many situations it is impossible for either party to coerce each other during the argument anyway. Consider two men conducting a philosophical argument over the telephone, one in Japan and one in New York, where neither man has the ability to coerce the other. No rights or norms need be mutually recognized for them to merely know that each is making uncoerced statements."

A norm is still adopted. If I adopt a norm of not drinking or smoking, the fact that there are no cigarettes or booze around doesn't change that.

AJ:
Nevermind that Hoppe starts with the underlying notion that an ethical theory can only be justified in an argument, implying that Hoppe's ethical theory wasn't justified until he argued about it with someone else(!!). Besides being patently ridiculous, it appears to include an inverse ad hominem fallacy for good measure. He also hints at an appeal to psychology fallacy with his talk of the arguer being uncoerced. Or else, he means justified to mean something other than "valid," hence allowing any ethical principle at all to still be valid.

Obviously, justifying means proving to someone else. It's not just a matter of convincing oneself. Also, what is being justified is a set of norms. And these norms exist whether anyone justifies them or not. Hoppe's proof is a proof that only certain norms can ever be justified. Valid means that the conclusions of an argument logically follow from its premises.

AJ:
And even in the fairy-tale world where Hoppe's non sequitur holds, he still has nothing to say about those who would advocate that everyone with kidneys be forced to give up one kidney for scientific research. After all, the advocate may well have given up his kidney, and people can still argue fine with one kidney. Hoppe fails even on his own terms.

But this is ruled out by the universalizability principle which is also presupposed by argumentation. Going into this is unecessary since the OP only asks whether the is/ought gap can be bridged. I think I have sufficiently backed up Hoppe and demonstrated that some norms are indeed valid and objective.

AJ:
I do not here advance any ethical position myself. I only point out that Hoppe's logic here is flawed beyond repair, and I hope he comes to grips with this so as to advance libertarianism on a sound basis and not open himself up to easy demolition like this, because the casual observer may throw out the baby (strong arguments for libertarianism) with the bathwater (glaringly fallacious arguments like the argument of Hoppe's we are discussing).

After having read a number of different versions of his argument, some of the sources that he cites, a few of the critiques of his theory, and some of the defenses of it, I get a different impression. I think he has considered the work of many other philosophers. His proof is only a conservative logical innovation building on top of many other philosopher's work. In some sense you are right about strategy. While his proof has ultimately answered the question for others and myself over whether an objective ethic can be proven, and which ethical systems are sound, it will never have mass appeal. It is to complicated and most people are too stupid or lazy to get it. Simple utilitarian style economic arguments will probably be the most decisive in the long run. The style of Democracy:The God That Failed is far more effective at bring others over to libertariansm. So, I think you're right that something else is needed to market to the casual observer.

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Stephen Forde:

You have your natural rights theory and I have mine. And it's natural. Just look at the empirical evidence. And anything that's natural must be right. So murder, enslavement, and crime are right.

wrong... you're lacking an epistemology based on a metaphysics of the nature of natural rights.

life is.

liberty is.

property is.

Once you intellectually apprehend what the quiddities of life, liberty, and property is (of human nature) and gain knowledge, their natures will be understood.  Until then your logical fallacy of murder is life, liberty is enslavement, and crime (I guess) is property is a doublethink where A is not-A.

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
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wilderness:

 

Once you intellectually apprehend what the quiddities of life, liberty, and property is (of human nature) and gain knowledge, their natures will be understood.  Until then your logical fallacy of murder is life, liberty is enslavement, and crime (I guess) is property is a doublethink where A is not-A.

This is an interesting argument. Did you devise it yourself?

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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I. Ryan replied on Mon, Aug 10 2009 7:55 PM

wilderness:

wrong... you're lacking an epistemology based on a metaphysics of the nature of natural rights.

life is.

liberty is.

property is.

Once you intellectually apprehend what the quiddities of life, liberty, and property is (of human nature) and gain knowledge, their natures will be understood.  Until then your logical fallacy of murder is life, liberty is enslavement, and crime (I guess) is property is a doublethink where A is not-A.

Again, you completely failed to construct an argument.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Laughing Man:

wilderness:

Once you intellectually apprehend what the quiddities of life, liberty, and property is (of human nature) and gain knowledge, their natures will be understood.  Until then your logical fallacy of murder is life, liberty is enslavement, and crime (I guess) is property is a doublethink where A is not-A.

This is an interesting argument. Did you devise it yourself?

sort of... I've been thinking about this, but I've had help understanding the terminology and concepts by reading Aristotle's "Ethics", then Aquainas "On Human Nature", and an excellent book that I highly recommend to everybody is a peak achievement in understanding natural law called "Natural Law" by Heinrich Rommen.  He was a german practicing lawyer (who later became a professor at Georgetown University after fleeing Germany after being imprisioned and released when no evidence could be found against him - he wrote of the injustices of the nazi's so naturally they came after him) who witnessed the Nazi's take over the legal system since their system was so heavy with positivism that natural law became so clouded they could not explicitly realize anything unjust, bad, and wrong enter into their legal system.  The Nazi's took over as their legal system was based on the historical school of positivism (if I have that specific kind of positivism correctly categorized) in which their law was based on custom and society.  Hence, as I'm sure most know, it became all about germany, a strong nationalism, the aryan race, etc... It was actually their final end of incorporating positivism into their state for over a century.  To define the law they had to define what a real german state was, and eventually whoever wasn't considered german, the aryan race, then they were killed.  It's positivism gone insane forgetting it's roots.  The real roots of any law is in natural law, but natural law considers intellect and positivism considers will.  Positivists will it.  They don't intellectually apprehend what is and realize the natural order of being.  They push passed reason and will it as inanimate objects.  They want to be a rock and force it through without knowledge and knowing of what is.  Natural law understandings practical reason, which is the combination of intellect and will.  Positivism inclines only upon the will.  It's a heck of a book with Part 1 a history of Natural Law's realization.  And a Part 2 of the philosophy of natural law [a full chapter on how being-ought, on how (being) is-ought works in concert to name one] with this second part having a chapter called "Natural Law and Positive Law".  It's either one or the other at play, with a combination of both the general story of western civilization (he doesn't cover outside of this civilization in this book) with Natural Law peeking in human intellect along the way some more than other times.

It's an amazing book.  One of the biggest recent eye-openers for me with his history, in-depth philosophical inquiry, and the clarity in his comparison's on what is natural law and what is positivism.  I could say so much more out of excitement, but I'll let it go at that.  I have more to read in that book and I realize the depth and magnitude of what's happening.  Much more to learn...

 

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
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I. Ryan:

wilderness:

wrong... you're lacking an epistemology based on a metaphysics of the nature of natural rights.

life is.

liberty is.

property is.

Once you intellectually apprehend what the quiddities of life, liberty, and property is (of human nature) and gain knowledge, their natures will be understood.  Until then your logical fallacy of murder is life, liberty is enslavement, and crime (I guess) is property is a doublethink where A is not-A.

Again, you completely failed to construct an argument.

That's because you don't have enough knowledge on the subject.  It's basically that simple and I'm stating your lack of epistemology and metaphysics all in one small post.

cheer up Beer

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
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