A short introduction into ethical considerations and its consequences

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Fido
 
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 06:41 pm
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
I think that a plea for the lack of free will due to a causal chain is just really easily falsified. It is a nice topic though. Tell you what, I hope to get around to it this week. If I don't pm me and ask me to back this bold statement up.


I'm glad you said that because you seemed to be after just that...

What makes you post such short unfounded statements exactly?

p.s.
I only wrote this in about 45 minutes to respond to Fido's ideas in a different topic. I think I did pretty good for something I just shook out of my sleeve.

P.U. I thought it came out of your pant leg!
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 11:15 pm
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
I think that a plea for the lack of free will due to a causal chain is just really easily falsified. It is a nice topic though. Tell you what, I hope to get around to it this week. If I don't pm me and ask me to back this bold statement up.


Ok, I'm interested to see your arguments in favor of free will. I'm not entirely sure what connection free will and metaphysics (therefore extra-personal ethics) necessarily have. Nietzsche, for example, was profoundly anti-metaphysical and yet believed in free will within the limits of physical reality. At any rate, I look forward to seeing your arguments here.

Quote:
What makes you post such short unfounded statements exactly?


As I consider the vast majority of statements made around here unfounded, I can only say that I try to express myself without unnecessary language. It's not meant to be sniping, but I apologize if that's how it comes across. I think you and I profoundly misunderstand each other to this point.
 
Fido
 
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 06:28 am
@Grimlock,
Grimlock wrote:
Ok, I'm interested to see your arguments in favor of free will. I'm not entirely sure what connection free will and metaphysics (therefore extra-personal ethics) necessarily have. Nietzsche, for example, was profoundly anti-metaphysical and yet believed in free will within the limits of physical reality. At any rate, I look forward to seeing your arguments here.



As I consider the vast majority of statements made around here unfounded, I can only say that I try to express myself without unnecessary language. It's not meant to be sniping, but I apologize if that's how it comes across. I think you and I profoundly misunderstand each other to this point.

Jefferson said all men were created equal. Equality is an essential quality of democracy and democracy is essential to the defense of freedom. Would it have been any more true, or any less metaphyscial had he said all men are created free?
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 12:32 am
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
Jefferson said all men were created equal. Equality is an essential quality of democracy and democracy is essential to the defense of freedom. Would it have been any more true, or any less metaphyscial had he said all men are created free?


All men are created neither free nor equal. Equality does not exist in the natural world and what is freedom but power redefined?
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 04:52 am
@Grimlock,
Grimlock wrote:
All men are created neither free nor equal. Equality does not exist in the natural world and what is freedom but power redefined?

Well YA. Because we are not created. But freedom is a moral form, and yes, it is power, but while we think of power in few hands it is great power as distinct from little power. Freedom is enough power. It is authority and government in the hands of all the people so they can decide the issues that affect them, and defend themselves from those with greater wealth, which is no guide to moral virtue.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 06:05 am
@Fido,
For Jefferson, the natural state of man is an unrestrained and equal ability to freely exercise his will and intentions, not that all men had equal abilities or talents. The natural state of affairs then has no artificial restraints imposed upon freedom of action.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 06:33 am
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
For Jefferson, the natural state of man is an unrestrained and equal ability to freely exercise his will and intentions, not that all men had equal abilities or talents. The natural state of affairs then has no artificial restraints imposed upon freedom of action.

The natural state of mankind has been in his nature, in the proper sense of the word, going back to natal/navel because all societies once sprang from a common mother. Now, in America were found many native peoples, and I applaud the attempt to make one nation on the model of these natives, who were free, but only within the constraints of their communities. But, in the contruction of the government with the contitution, an older model was used which was the Roman republic on the edge of despotism. All that has saved us is that, like England, we were remote, and unlike England we began with a huge country and a vast wealth of natural resources. But we are sliding rather quickly into despotism of the worse kind, of plutocracy, and oligarchy. A lot of misunderstanding made the enlightenment. I think it is amuch easier point to make that freedom is a form of relationship, and that we are free by consent, as free as we are allowed to be, and as free as we allow others to be. Too many, perhaps even a majority in this country reject the idea of individual freedom all together.
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 08:03 am
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
I think it is a much easier point to make that freedom is a form of relationship, and that we are free by consent, as free as we are allowed to be, and as free as we allow others to be.


Ok, I agree with you; "freedom" in the common conception of the term is defined in terms of relations with other people. In a more grounded sense, no one is ever really free, as complete freedom would be...omnipotence. We are always restricted by the physical reality in which we find ourselves and the extent of our freedom is a factor of our power over and control of that physical reality. The idea that man is "born free" is little more than a quaint moralist atavism. But that is all obvious enough.

The entire American political framework (the "social contract" and justification of state-imposed restrictions on individual liberty) depends on the old Lockean "state of nature" as a sort of moral release valve. If you don't like what the state offers, just go live among the bears, then. Fair enough, but even Locke must have realized at the time he wrote it that he was dancing around the issue. There is no more stateless territory on this planet, and Locke's thin linking of natural rights and statehood is thus fully worn through. What is a social contract if you're forced to sign? That's no contract, at all.

This is not an argument against democracy, per se, just an effort to point out that the old natural rights argument (to which Jefferson appealed) has some gaping holes in it, even if the existence of extrapersonal moral values is accepted as an axiom. Locke was reasoning backwards, anyway, in attempting to link a fairly absolutist conception of natural rights to the existence of the nation-state. A noble effort, but the whole "state of nature" business was really a shocking obfuscation and rational surrender on his part.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 08:57 am
@Grimlock,
While many of the philosophers of the time were influenced by reports from the new world when they discussed an original state of nature, it may be that the argument does not depend upon there ever being such a historical phenomenon.
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 09:19 am
@jgweed,
Care to expand on that, j? I've never seen the argument made except with reference to the state of nature as a literal thing.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 10:12 am
@Grimlock,
There is a line of thought, especially (as I remember it) about Hobbes, that the philosophers could be read as asking the question, what would men be like if all the restraints of law and society were somehow removed? Thus, to understand the function and nature of the State, we could begin by considering what life would be like without it, or what it would be like if its machinery and apparatus suddenly disappeared.
The original state of nature would thus be prior in thought rather than prior in time, and would be independent of whatever historical evidence (if any, given the presumed antiquity of such a state) was adduced--- whether the nasty life discussed by Hobbes, or the cult of the noble savage in Chateaubriand and, to some extent, in Locke and Rousseau.
The "revised" argument indicates that what is fundamental to the theory is that consent or (perhaps more precisely) agreement is the basis for justification of government, not historical fact. Rawls (perhaps influenced by economic techniques) seems to want to consider, for example, the social contract as a hypothetical model .
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 12:32 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
There is a line of thought, especially (as I remember it) about Hobbes, that the philosophers could be read as asking the question, what would men be like if all the restraints of law and society were somehow removed? Thus, to understand the function and nature of the State, we could begin by considering what life would be like without it, or what it would be like if its machinery and apparatus suddenly disappeared.
The original state of nature would thus be prior in thought rather than prior in time, and would be independent of whatever historical evidence (if any, given the presumed antiquity of such a state) was adduced--- whether the nasty life discussed by Hobbes, or the cult of the noble savage in Chateaubriand and, to some extent, in Locke and Rousseau.
The "revised" argument indicates that what is fundamental to the theory is that consent or (perhaps more precisely) agreement is the basis for justification of government, not historical fact. Rawls (perhaps influenced by economic techniques) seems to want to consider, for example, the social contract as a hypothetical model .


Urgh...Rawls...there's a name I haven't heard for a while.

Anyway, what "agreement" can there be when citizenship (and subjection to law) is automatic? "Hypothetical model" is about the kindest term I can think of for that line of reasoning. There is no freely-entered social contract for any but the men who actually wrote the constitution, themselves, nor could there ever be. Our society is founded on a paradox: subjugation in order to gain freedom.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 05:02 pm
@Grimlock,
Grimlock wrote:
Ok, I agree with you; "freedom" in the common conception of the term is defined in terms of relations with other people. In a more grounded sense, no one is ever really free, as complete freedom would be...omnipotence. We are always restricted by the physical reality in which we find ourselves and the extent of our freedom is a factor of our power over and control of that physical reality. The idea that man is "born free" is little more than a quaint moralist atavism. But that is all obvious enough.

The entire American political framework (the "social contract" and justification of state-imposed restrictions on individual liberty) depends on the old Lockean "state of nature" as a sort of moral release valve. If you don't like what the state offers, just go live among the bears, then. Fair enough, but even Locke must have realized at the time he wrote it that he was dancing around the issue. There is no more stateless territory on this planet, and Locke's thin linking of natural rights and statehood is thus fully worn through. What is a social contract if you're forced to sign? That's no contract, at all.

This is not an argument against democracy, per se, just an effort to point out that the old natural rights argument (to which Jefferson appealed) has some gaping holes in it, even if the existence of extrapersonal moral values is accepted as an axiom. Locke was reasoning backwards, anyway, in attempting to link a fairly absolutist conception of natural rights to the existence of the nation-state. A noble effort, but the whole "state of nature" business was really a shocking obfuscation and rational surrender on his part.

Well there seems to be a good deal of the noble savage in our conception of the rights of man, in that when we say individual freedom we some how believe that the individual is endowed with moral virtue that his society is not. You must know that natural law came from the Roman law of nations which for the first time put forward the notion that all people were equal, and though the world spent another five centuries perhaps denying that fact, it gained enough support to drive through a long and bloody revolt. If you look at English Common Law, it has never been much amended because every one accepted that it sprang from the heart and good sense of the English people. Which tends to make the point that what is moral for one is moral for another, and also that people left to themselves, expressing human equality no matter what their state of bondage, give themselves the best law and government that can be imagined for them. A good book to read is Law and Revolution, it being a history of Western Law, which only came into its own about a thousand years ago. Whatever may be said of western law as a whole, England is an exception because European Law drew much more from Roman tradition, and it took many centuries, but England new feudalism later, and freedom earlier than anywhere is Europe, and we followed that tradition to freedom, limited, but freedom. The remarkable thing is that law tamed the German and Celtic savages, so we still have some idea of their behavior before and after. And it is not disimilar to the American Indian savages and their behavior. What is curious is that within their communities they knew something like perfect freedom, but outside ethical considerations ruled them. There are account of people quite near my childhood home torturing to death some Iroquois. Strange as it may seem, they invited it, and endured it in good cheer, and this was ethical in that it brought honor to their people. If they had shown themselves weak it would have invited attack, but it was a reminder to all that if they fell into the enemy's hands theri fate would be the same as the one they enjoyed. If ethics troubles people it is because taken out of its context, which is of an honor society it does not make sense. Why would people let themselves be cut up and burned, not cry out, or beg for mercy? The were simply paying a debt of honor to those who had given them life, learning and protection. Sometimes they were giving up to their torturers what they had taken. When one was told to be brave and that he would be burned, he replied: good, for I have eaten of all nations. So, if you get my point, when you are surrounded by blood thirsty savages you might be inclined to give all those in the same situation all the freedom they think they may need. If you don't think you need the people in your community you might be inclined to act unethically toward them. I find it interesting that today we face threats with curtailed freedom while savages had a maximum of freedom because they were everywhere threatend
 
 

 
Copyright © 2024 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 04/22/2024 at 07:36:15