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Why can't you negate exlusive ownership?

darkkermit
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11/29/2011 12:11:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
So I was reading one of J.Kenyon's debates. His justification of the non-aggression principle is as followed:

Moreover, in order to participate in ethical discourse, the right to exclusive ownership and control over one's person must be presupposed. To negate this would result in a performative contradiction, which occurs when the propositional content of a statement contradicts the non-contingent presuppositions that make the speech act possible

Sorry for my ignorance, but what exactly does he mean by this? It just looks like gibberish to me.
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Homo_Sacer
Posts: 63
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11/29/2011 12:34:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 12:11:48 PM, darkkermit wrote:
Moreover, in order to participate in ethical discourse, the right to exclusive ownership and control over one's person must be presupposed. To negate this would result in a performative contradiction, which occurs when the propositional content of a statement contradicts the non-contingent presuppositions that make the speech act possible

His argument, it seems to me, is that normative discourse is made possible by certain necessary (i.e. non-contingent) presuppositions. Further, he seems to suggest that one cannot put forward a proposition which contains the negation of these presuppositions, as advocacy of the negation of these necessary presuppositions directly undermines the preconditions of normative discourse. In other words, there are certain things which must be assumed prior to discourse; to include in the content of that discourse the negation of those assumptions is therefore incoherent, as you must suppose the very things against which you are attempting to argue.
darkkermit
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11/29/2011 1:09:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 12:34:21 PM, Homo_Sacer wrote:
At 11/29/2011 12:11:48 PM, darkkermit wrote:
Moreover, in order to participate in ethical discourse, the right to exclusive ownership and control over one's person must be presupposed. To negate this would result in a performative contradiction, which occurs when the propositional content of a statement contradicts the non-contingent presuppositions that make the speech act possible

His argument, it seems to me, is that normative discourse is made possible by certain necessary (i.e. non-contingent) presuppositions. Further, he seems to suggest that one cannot put forward a proposition which contains the negation of these presuppositions, as advocacy of the negation of these necessary presuppositions directly undermines the preconditions of normative discourse. In other words, there are certain things which must be assumed prior to discourse; to include in the content of that discourse the negation of those assumptions is therefore incoherent, as you must suppose the very things against which you are attempting to argue.

I looked up the meaning of performative contradiction:
http://fuckyeahexistentialism.tumblr.com...

I guess what he means that stating "I do not own my body" is a performative contradiction based on using the word "I" implies self-ownership. But this is as silly as stating that a rock has self-ownership because "That's a rock". The word "I" doesn't imply self-ownership, it merely a clarification of reference. Just like If I said "my friend", that doesn't mean I necessarily own him or her. Anyways more here:

http://polycentricorder.blogspot.com...
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Ore_Ele
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11/29/2011 1:28:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 1:09:08 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/29/2011 12:34:21 PM, Homo_Sacer wrote:
At 11/29/2011 12:11:48 PM, darkkermit wrote:
Moreover, in order to participate in ethical discourse, the right to exclusive ownership and control over one's person must be presupposed. To negate this would result in a performative contradiction, which occurs when the propositional content of a statement contradicts the non-contingent presuppositions that make the speech act possible

His argument, it seems to me, is that normative discourse is made possible by certain necessary (i.e. non-contingent) presuppositions. Further, he seems to suggest that one cannot put forward a proposition which contains the negation of these presuppositions, as advocacy of the negation of these necessary presuppositions directly undermines the preconditions of normative discourse. In other words, there are certain things which must be assumed prior to discourse; to include in the content of that discourse the negation of those assumptions is therefore incoherent, as you must suppose the very things against which you are attempting to argue.

I looked up the meaning of performative contradiction:
http://fuckyeahexistentialism.tumblr.com...

I guess what he means that stating "I do not own my body" is a performative contradiction based on using the word "I" implies self-ownership. But this is as silly as stating that a rock has self-ownership because "That's a rock". The word "I" doesn't imply self-ownership, it merely a clarification of reference. Just like If I said "my friend", that doesn't mean I necessarily own him or her. Anyways more here:

http://polycentricorder.blogspot.com...

Yes, it is very silly. By the same reasoning, by arguing through a computer (like on the internet) implies that you own the computer, which is false. I do not own the computer that I'm typing on. What it actually implies is usage. You cannot argue that you do not "use" your body, as you would be required to "use" you body in order to argue. "use" =/= "ownership."
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Mestari
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11/29/2011 7:38:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 12:11:48 PM, darkkermit wrote:
So I was reading one of J.Kenyon's debates. His justification of the non-aggression principle is as followed:

Moreover, in order to participate in ethical discourse, the right to exclusive ownership and control over one's person must be presupposed. To negate this would result in a performative contradiction, which occurs when the propositional content of a statement contradicts the non-contingent presuppositions that make the speech act possible

Sorry for my ignorance, but what exactly does he mean by this? It just looks like gibberish to me.

Do you mind linking the debate? More context might help us interpret what she was saying.
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Homo_Sacer
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11/29/2011 8:05:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 1:09:08 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/29/2011 12:34:21 PM, Homo_Sacer wrote:
At 11/29/2011 12:11:48 PM, darkkermit wrote:
Moreover, in order to participate in ethical discourse, the right to exclusive ownership and control over one's person must be presupposed. To negate this would result in a performative contradiction, which occurs when the propositional content of a statement contradicts the non-contingent presuppositions that make the speech act possible

His argument, it seems to me, is that normative discourse is made possible by certain necessary (i.e. non-contingent) presuppositions. Further, he seems to suggest that one cannot put forward a proposition which contains the negation of these presuppositions, as advocacy of the negation of these necessary presuppositions directly undermines the preconditions of normative discourse. In other words, there are certain things which must be assumed prior to discourse; to include in the content of that discourse the negation of those assumptions is therefore incoherent, as you must suppose the very things against which you are attempting to argue.

I looked up the meaning of performative contradiction:
http://fuckyeahexistentialism.tumblr.com...

I guess what he means that stating "I do not own my body" is a performative contradiction based on using the word "I" implies self-ownership. But this is as silly as stating that a rock has self-ownership because "That's a rock". The word "I" doesn't imply self-ownership, it merely a clarification of reference. Just like If I said "my friend", that doesn't mean I necessarily own him or her. Anyways more here:

I don't know that this necessarily captures the essence of his argument. If my understanding is correct, this is a libertarian extension of Habermasian discourse ethics, which argues that, by choosing to engage discourse, we must necessarily accept particular conditions, e.g. nonviolence, to imbue normative discourse with any meaning at all. The moment that we choose violence, Habermas would likely argue, we cede that we have given up on rational, nonviolent communication as a means of dispute resolution.

The libertarian extension of that, I think, is that, of those conditions to which we agree, one is that, to engage in meaningful argumentation with the intent of resolving a normative dispute, we must necessarily assume exclusive control, i.e. ownership, of our bodies. A counterargument made is that use and ownership are not the same, which I agree is true; however, I think a libertarian would likely respond by saying that use can confer ownership in particular circumstances. Suppose, for example, that there are two plots of land. One is owned by a farmer, and one is an unowned plot. Though one may end up using both, the circumstances permitting that use are not homogeneous. By virtue of the former plot being owned by the farmer, the farmer's consent is a precondition to use of that land, similar to how the consent of the computer's owner is a precondition to use of that computer.

The use of unowned land, according to a use-theory of property (which seems to be at the heart of this libertarian argument), is free and open to anyone who uses it; however, by combining one's labor with the land (that is to say, by using and transforming the land in some way in the pursuit of one's interests), ownership rights are thereby conferred. Similarly, one might argue that there are no preexisting rights claims on an individual's body. It is similar to an unowned plot of land; however, because the will is inalienable from the body, one's use of one's own body is inevitable, and, therefore, the exclusive claim to ownership of one's body is also inevitable. Naturally, one might object, claiming that coercion can be used to impinge upon an individual's claim to self-ownership; however, the libertarian might respond that, at the point at which violence is the licensed means of interaction, normative discourse becomes useless, as a debate over norms, according to Habermas, necessarily implies that agents are initially free and equal, i.e., that their consent and agreement are necessary. This is why, for example, an individual cannot attempt to persuade another that slavery ought to be permitted. Habermas would argue that the notion of an argument for slavery undermines the capacity of agents to engage in meaningful discourse, and the libertarian would argue that the fundamental condition of self-ownership necessary for debating such propositions is nullified by their content, thereby invalidating the argument.

Of course, this assumes that my interpretation of things is correct. I may certainly be in error, and I welcome correction if I'm mistaken.
Ore_Ele
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11/30/2011 9:40:16 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 8:05:08 PM, Homo_Sacer wrote:
At 11/29/2011 1:09:08 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/29/2011 12:34:21 PM, Homo_Sacer wrote:
At 11/29/2011 12:11:48 PM, darkkermit wrote:
Moreover, in order to participate in ethical discourse, the right to exclusive ownership and control over one's person must be presupposed. To negate this would result in a performative contradiction, which occurs when the propositional content of a statement contradicts the non-contingent presuppositions that make the speech act possible

His argument, it seems to me, is that normative discourse is made possible by certain necessary (i.e. non-contingent) presuppositions. Further, he seems to suggest that one cannot put forward a proposition which contains the negation of these presuppositions, as advocacy of the negation of these necessary presuppositions directly undermines the preconditions of normative discourse. In other words, there are certain things which must be assumed prior to discourse; to include in the content of that discourse the negation of those assumptions is therefore incoherent, as you must suppose the very things against which you are attempting to argue.

I looked up the meaning of performative contradiction:
http://fuckyeahexistentialism.tumblr.com...

I guess what he means that stating "I do not own my body" is a performative contradiction based on using the word "I" implies self-ownership. But this is as silly as stating that a rock has self-ownership because "That's a rock". The word "I" doesn't imply self-ownership, it merely a clarification of reference. Just like If I said "my friend", that doesn't mean I necessarily own him or her. Anyways more here:

I don't know that this necessarily captures the essence of his argument. If my understanding is correct, this is a libertarian extension of Habermasian discourse ethics, which argues that, by choosing to engage discourse, we must necessarily accept particular conditions, e.g. nonviolence, to imbue normative discourse with any meaning at all. The moment that we choose violence, Habermas would likely argue, we cede that we have given up on rational, nonviolent communication as a means of dispute resolution.

The libertarian extension of that, I think, is that, of those conditions to which we agree, one is that, to engage in meaningful argumentation with the intent of resolving a normative dispute, we must necessarily assume exclusive control, i.e. ownership, of our bodies. A counterargument made is that use and ownership are not the same, which I agree is true; however, I think a libertarian would likely respond by saying that use can confer ownership in particular circumstances. Suppose, for example, that there are two plots of land. One is owned by a farmer, and one is an unowned plot. Though one may end up using both, the circumstances permitting that use are not homogeneous. By virtue of the former plot being owned by the farmer, the farmer's consent is a precondition to use of that land, similar to how the consent of the computer's owner is a precondition to use of that computer.

But that is an illogical assumption. It is entirely possible to use a computer without having the consent of the owner. For example, many offices don't allow their employees to access facebook on work computers, but employees often do anyway. So you cannot say that just because they are on facebook on the computer that they must have consent. Such an assumption is like saying, "if a man is having sex with a women, we should assume it is consentual," when it is entirely possible that rape is actually occuring.


The use of unowned land, according to a use-theory of property (which seems to be at the heart of this libertarian argument), is free and open to anyone who uses it; however, by combining one's labor with the land (that is to say, by using and transforming the land in some way in the pursuit of one's interests), ownership rights are thereby conferred. Similarly, one might argue that there are no preexisting rights claims on an individual's body. It is similar to an unowned plot of land; however, because the will is inalienable from the body, one's use of one's own body is inevitable, and, therefore, the exclusive claim to ownership of one's body is also inevitable. Naturally, one might object, claiming that coercion can be used to impinge upon an individual's claim to self-ownership; however, the libertarian might respond that, at the point at which violence is the licensed means of interaction, normative discourse becomes useless, as a debate over norms, according to Habermas, necessarily implies that agents are initially free and equal, i.e., that their consent and agreement are necessary. This is why, for example, an individual cannot attempt to persuade another that slavery ought to be permitted. Habermas would argue that the notion of an argument for slavery undermines the capacity of agents to engage in meaningful discourse, and the libertarian would argue that the fundamental condition of self-ownership necessary for debating such propositions is nullified by their content, thereby invalidating the argument.

Of course, this assumes that my interpretation of things is correct. I may certainly be in error, and I welcome correction if I'm mistaken.

No, that is the correct interpretation from a libertarian standpoint, the argument is that such a stand point is inaccurate. For one, the use-theory of mixing labor with land (or un-owned property in general) grants ownership is an assumption and man made concept. The Discourse Ethics attempts to claim that these are absolute. It attempts to make the jump from self-ownership being a man-made concept, to a logical natural law.

But even then, one can go on to how the homesteading principle (mixing labor with un-owned property) contridicts self ownership unless the NAP is violated.
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Homo_Sacer
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11/30/2011 10:52:23 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/30/2011 9:40:16 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
But that is an illogical assumption. It is entirely possible to use a computer without having the consent of the owner. For example, many offices don't allow their employees to access facebook on work computers, but employees often do anyway. So you cannot say that just because they are on facebook on the computer that they must have consent. Such an assumption is like saying, "if a man is having sex with a women, we should assume it is consentual," when it is entirely possible that rape is actually occuring.

I may have miscommunicated. My intention was not to claim that use presupposes consent; the libertarian argument, rather, is that, for property affected by prior ownership claims, legitimate use of such property, by someone other than the owner, requires the consent of the owner. Co-opting your example of office computers, I am not saying that they always have consent; rather, I use "must" so as to indicate that consent is a necessary condition for legitimate use of property by others (in this case, by the company). Similarly, it isn't that all sex is consensual; rather, a man must have consent (i.e., consent is required), for the sex to be "legitimate", legally speaking. I apologize if my meaning was unclear.

No, that is the correct interpretation from a libertarian standpoint, the argument is that such a stand point is inaccurate. For one, the use-theory of mixing labor with land (or un-owned property in general) grants ownership is an assumption and man made concept. The Discourse Ethics attempts to claim that these are absolute. It attempts to make the jump from self-ownership being a man-made concept, to a logical natural law.

This is an interesting counterargument. A libertarian, I think, might respond by arguing that, because two people cannot simultaneously use a scarce resource (as you cannot, for instance, have my cake while I eat it), a coherent rule for resource allocation is necessary. Though I think you may be right in claiming that the mixture of use or labor with unowned resources is perhaps nothing more than a convenient assertion, there is a question of whether you would consider any theory of ownership-conferral legitimate. If you would answer no, the second question is how you propose to legitimately resolve disputes over unowned resources.

But even then, one can go on to how the homesteading principle (mixing labor with un-owned property) contridicts self ownership unless the NAP is violated.

This is also an interesting counterargument. Would you care to explain?
Ore_Ele
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11/30/2011 11:30:27 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/30/2011 10:52:23 AM, Homo_Sacer wrote:
At 11/30/2011 9:40:16 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
But that is an illogical assumption. It is entirely possible to use a computer without having the consent of the owner. For example, many offices don't allow their employees to access facebook on work computers, but employees often do anyway. So you cannot say that just because they are on facebook on the computer that they must have consent. Such an assumption is like saying, "if a man is having sex with a women, we should assume it is consentual," when it is entirely possible that rape is actually occuring.

I may have miscommunicated. My intention was not to claim that use presupposes consent; the libertarian argument, rather, is that, for property affected by prior ownership claims, legitimate use of such property, by someone other than the owner, requires the consent of the owner. Co-opting your example of office computers, I am not saying that they always have consent; rather, I use "must" so as to indicate that consent is a necessary condition for legitimate use of property by others (in this case, by the company). Similarly, it isn't that all sex is consensual; rather, a man must have consent (i.e., consent is required), for the sex to be "legitimate", legally speaking. I apologize if my meaning was unclear.

Of course, I'm merely going back to the OP in that some believe that it is not possible at all to negate exlusive ownership or self ownership. Because it is dependent upon certain assumptions, without those assumptions, it can be negated.


No, that is the correct interpretation from a libertarian standpoint, the argument is that such a stand point is inaccurate. For one, the use-theory of mixing labor with land (or un-owned property in general) grants ownership is an assumption and man made concept. The Discourse Ethics attempts to claim that these are absolute. It attempts to make the jump from self-ownership being a man-made concept, to a logical natural law.

This is an interesting counterargument. A libertarian, I think, might respond by arguing that, because two people cannot simultaneously use a scarce resource (as you cannot, for instance, have my cake while I eat it), a coherent rule for resource allocation is necessary. Though I think you may be right in claiming that the mixture of use or labor with unowned resources is perhaps nothing more than a convenient assertion, there is a question of whether you would consider any theory of ownership-conferral legitimate. If you would answer no, the second question is how you propose to legitimately resolve disputes over unowned resources.

If we want to dig down to bottom roots, it all traces back to might makes right. Rights are a concept invented by society to help things run smoother. As such, they are free to be invented or destroyed, as the mighty chooses. In our case, the mighty is the government (suppose to be the people who give power to the government to be a servent to them, but meh). It chooses to allow such rights to help society function in a way that the government likes.

These rights are enforced by if someone takes something from me, the government (should) take it from the taker, and willingly give it back to me. As the government is suppose to be the highest level of might, it has the power to take from anyone (or any takers). The government is suppose to have a moral code that it only exerts this power that we've given it under certain circumstances.


But even then, one can go on to how the homesteading principle (mixing labor with un-owned property) contridicts self ownership unless the NAP is violated.

This is also an interesting counterargument. Would you care to explain?

Let us assume that we are acting under the NAP (as in aggression is not allowed, once aggression is comitted, that counts as a violation).

When a women is pregnant, she exerts labor (meaning work, her body does work, not just refering to "labor" as in giving birth) in creating and growing a baby. By the homestead principle, her mixing her labor (or the body's labor, as the growing of the baby is not entire a conscious act) with the embryo and later fetus, means that she is the legitimate owner of that baby's body.

This comes with several assumptions, which are backed by traditional libertarian positions.

1) Direct labor is not required for ownership.

This basically means, that any labor that your property does, becomes your property. An example would be farming. If you own the land and corn grows naturally without any help from you (watered by rain and grown by sunshine), the corn is legitimately yours.

2) Rationality is a requirement for personhood (and by extension, rights and self-ownership).

This is evident by denying animals self-ownership, and treating them in a way in which you were to treat a human, would be a gross violation of their rights. This is also apparent by if I were to steal a cow from a cattle farmer, it would be classified as stealing his property.

3) An embryo is not classified as a rational being, and so has no rights until it achieves the rational level.

This can be seen in Mises, Hoppe, Rand, and others. This is also apparent by the support of abortion. If embryoes and fetuses would considered rational, then they would hold the right to life and so abortion would be considered murder.

Moving on from this, it is not possible for the mother to own the fetus, and as such own the child after birth and for the child to have self-ownership (not by exclusive ownership theories). As such, only one can be the owner, but to deny either one their legitimate ownership is to perform an act of aggression, or to deny the acceptance of one of the two principles (either homesteading or self-ownership).

I've heard one interesting counter (not a direct counter to this argument, but it could be applied to this) from miniarchist libertarian on this site, in that everything holds self-ownership, but we are only obligated to respect that self-ownership once something claims itself. Meaning that a cow has self-ownership, but until it claims its self-ownership we may continue acting as if it doesn't. The same applies to a baby. It has self-ownership, but until it reaches the rational state to be able to claim its own self-ownership, we may treat it as if it is "owned" by its parent.

Of course, this has a negative issue with it, in that it is basically saying you are violating the self-ownership of everything, but it is okay under conditions XYZ. Because conditions XYZ were created so that we could continue living in a way that we see fit, it opens the ethical doors to creating other conditions to allow us to live as we see fit.

What happens, is that it takes the libertarian guidelines from a code that we live our life by (not me in particular, since I'm not libertarian) to a code that is customized to how we live our life. Meaning that we are not adjusting our lives to the code, we are adjusting the code to our lives. So there must be something else, something deeper that is the code by which we live.
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headphonegut
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11/30/2011 4:46:32 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/30/2011 11:30:27 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/30/2011 10:52:23 AM, Homo_Sacer wrote:
At 11/30/2011 9:40:16 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
But that is an illogical assumption. It is entirely possible to use a computer without having the consent of the owner. For example, many offices don't allow their employees to access facebook on work computers, but employees often do anyway. So you cannot say that just because they are on facebook on the computer that they must have consent. Such an assumption is like saying, "if a man is having sex with a women, we should assume it is consentual," when it is entirely possible that rape is actually occuring.

I may have miscommunicated. My intention was not to claim that use presupposes consent; the libertarian argument, rather, is that, for property affected by prior ownership claims, legitimate use of such property, by someone other than the owner, requires the consent of the owner. Co-opting your example of office computers, I am not saying that they always have consent; rather, I use "must" so as to indicate that consent is a necessary condition for legitimate use of property by others (in this case, by the company). Similarly, it isn't that all sex is consensual; rather, a man must have consent (i.e., consent is required), for the sex to be "legitimate", legally speaking. I apologize if my meaning was unclear.

Of course, I'm merely going back to the OP in that some believe that it is not possible at all to negate exlusive ownership or self ownership. Because it is dependent upon certain assumptions, without those assumptions, it can be negated.


No, that is the correct interpretation from a libertarian standpoint, the argument is that such a stand point is inaccurate. For one, the use-theory of mixing labor with land (or un-owned property in general) grants ownership is an assumption and man made concept. The Discourse Ethics attempts to claim that these are absolute. It attempts to make the jump from self-ownership being a man-made concept, to a logical natural law.

This is an interesting counterargument. A libertarian, I think, might respond by arguing that, because two people cannot simultaneously use a scarce resource (as you cannot, for instance, have my cake while I eat it), a coherent rule for resource allocation is necessary. Though I think you may be right in claiming that the mixture of use or labor with unowned resources is perhaps nothing more than a convenient assertion, there is a question of whether you would consider any theory of ownership-conferral legitimate. If you would answer no, the second question is how you propose to legitimately resolve disputes over unowned resources.

If we want to dig down to bottom roots, it all traces back to might makes right. Rights are a concept invented by society to help things run smoother. As such, they are free to be invented or destroyed, as the mighty chooses. In our case, the mighty is the government (suppose to be the people who give power to the government to be a servent to them, but meh). It chooses to allow such rights to help society function in a way that the government likes.

These rights are enforced by if someone takes something from me, the government (should) take it from the taker, and willingly give it back to me. As the government is suppose to be the highest level of might, it has the power to take from anyone (or any takers). The government is suppose to have a moral code that it only exerts this power that we've given it under certain circumstances.


But even then, one can go on to how the homesteading principle (mixing labor with un-owned property) contridicts self ownership unless the NAP is violated.

This is also an interesting counterargument. Would you care to explain?

Let us assume that we are acting under the NAP (as in aggression is not allowed, once aggression is comitted, that counts as a violation).

When a women is pregnant, she exerts labor (meaning work, her body does work, not just refering to "labor" as in giving birth) in creating and growing a baby. By the homestead principle, her mixing her labor (or the body's labor, as the growing of the baby is not entire a conscious act) with the embryo and later fetus, means that she is the legitimate owner of that baby's body.

This comes with several assumptions, which are backed by traditional libertarian positions.

1) Direct labor is not required for ownership.

This basically means, that any labor that your property does, becomes your property. An example would be farming. If you own the land and corn grows naturally without any help from you (watered by rain and grown by sunshine), the corn is legitimately yours.

2) Rationality is a requirement for personhood (and by extension, rights and self-ownership).

This is evident by denying animals self-ownership, and treating them in a way in which you were to treat a human, would be a gross violation of their rights. This is also apparent by if I were to steal a cow from a cattle farmer, it would be classified as stealing his property.

3) An embryo is not classified as a rational being, and so has no rights until it achieves the rational level.

This can be seen in Mises, Hoppe, Rand, and others. This is also apparent by the support of abortion. If embryoes and fetuses would considered rational, then they would hold the right to life and so abortion would be considered murder.

Moving on from this, it is not possible for the mother to own the fetus, and as such own the child after birth and for the child to have self-ownership (not by exclusive ownership theories). As such, only one can be the owner, but to deny either one their legitimate ownership is to perform an act of aggression, or to deny the acceptance of one of the two principles (either homesteading or self-ownership).


I've heard one interesting counter (not a direct counter to this argument, but it could be applied to this) from miniarchist libertarian on this site, in that everything holds self-ownership, but we are only obligated to respect that self-ownership once something claims itself. Meaning that a cow has self-ownership, but until it claims its self-ownership we may continue acting as if it doesn't. The same applies to a baby. It has self-ownership, but until it reaches the rational state to be able to claim its own self-ownership, we may treat it as if it is "owned" by its parent.

[can you expand on this]
are you saying one needs to be "aware" or rational enough to understand they have self-ownership in order to claim self-ownership? how would one go about claiming self-ownership when they reach an certain degree of "awareness"

Of course, this has a negative issue with it, in that it is basically saying you are violating the self-ownership of everything, but it is okay under conditions XYZ. Because conditions XYZ were created so that we could continue living in a way that we see fit, it opens the ethical doors to creating other conditions to allow us to live as we see fit.

What happens, is that it takes the libertarian guidelines from a code that we live our life by (not me in particular, since I'm not libertarian) to a code that is customized to how we live our life. Meaning that we are not adjusting our lives to the code, we are adjusting the code to our lives. So there must be something else, something deeper that is the code by which we live.
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Ore_Ele
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11/30/2011 5:25:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/30/2011 4:46:32 PM, headphonegut wrote:
At 11/30/2011 11:30:27 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/30/2011 10:52:23 AM, Homo_Sacer wrote:
At 11/30/2011 9:40:16 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
But that is an illogical assumption. It is entirely possible to use a computer without having the consent of the owner. For example, many offices don't allow their employees to access facebook on work computers, but employees often do anyway. So you cannot say that just because they are on facebook on the computer that they must have consent. Such an assumption is like saying, "if a man is having sex with a women, we should assume it is consentual," when it is entirely possible that rape is actually occuring.

I may have miscommunicated. My intention was not to claim that use presupposes consent; the libertarian argument, rather, is that, for property affected by prior ownership claims, legitimate use of such property, by someone other than the owner, requires the consent of the owner. Co-opting your example of office computers, I am not saying that they always have consent; rather, I use "must" so as to indicate that consent is a necessary condition for legitimate use of property by others (in this case, by the company). Similarly, it isn't that all sex is consensual; rather, a man must have consent (i.e., consent is required), for the sex to be "legitimate", legally speaking. I apologize if my meaning was unclear.

Of course, I'm merely going back to the OP in that some believe that it is not possible at all to negate exlusive ownership or self ownership. Because it is dependent upon certain assumptions, without those assumptions, it can be negated.


No, that is the correct interpretation from a libertarian standpoint, the argument is that such a stand point is inaccurate. For one, the use-theory of mixing labor with land (or un-owned property in general) grants ownership is an assumption and man made concept. The Discourse Ethics attempts to claim that these are absolute. It attempts to make the jump from self-ownership being a man-made concept, to a logical natural law.

This is an interesting counterargument. A libertarian, I think, might respond by arguing that, because two people cannot simultaneously use a scarce resource (as you cannot, for instance, have my cake while I eat it), a coherent rule for resource allocation is necessary. Though I think you may be right in claiming that the mixture of use or labor with unowned resources is perhaps nothing more than a convenient assertion, there is a question of whether you would consider any theory of ownership-conferral legitimate. If you would answer no, the second question is how you propose to legitimately resolve disputes over unowned resources.

If we want to dig down to bottom roots, it all traces back to might makes right. Rights are a concept invented by society to help things run smoother. As such, they are free to be invented or destroyed, as the mighty chooses. In our case, the mighty is the government (suppose to be the people who give power to the government to be a servent to them, but meh). It chooses to allow such rights to help society function in a way that the government likes.

These rights are enforced by if someone takes something from me, the government (should) take it from the taker, and willingly give it back to me. As the government is suppose to be the highest level of might, it has the power to take from anyone (or any takers). The government is suppose to have a moral code that it only exerts this power that we've given it under certain circumstances.


But even then, one can go on to how the homesteading principle (mixing labor with un-owned property) contridicts self ownership unless the NAP is violated.

This is also an interesting counterargument. Would you care to explain?

Let us assume that we are acting under the NAP (as in aggression is not allowed, once aggression is comitted, that counts as a violation).

When a women is pregnant, she exerts labor (meaning work, her body does work, not just refering to "labor" as in giving birth) in creating and growing a baby. By the homestead principle, her mixing her labor (or the body's labor, as the growing of the baby is not entire a conscious act) with the embryo and later fetus, means that she is the legitimate owner of that baby's body.

This comes with several assumptions, which are backed by traditional libertarian positions.

1) Direct labor is not required for ownership.

This basically means, that any labor that your property does, becomes your property. An example would be farming. If you own the land and corn grows naturally without any help from you (watered by rain and grown by sunshine), the corn is legitimately yours.

2) Rationality is a requirement for personhood (and by extension, rights and self-ownership).

This is evident by denying animals self-ownership, and treating them in a way in which you were to treat a human, would be a gross violation of their rights. This is also apparent by if I were to steal a cow from a cattle farmer, it would be classified as stealing his property.

3) An embryo is not classified as a rational being, and so has no rights until it achieves the rational level.

This can be seen in Mises, Hoppe, Rand, and others. This is also apparent by the support of abortion. If embryoes and fetuses would considered rational, then they would hold the right to life and so abortion would be considered murder.

Moving on from this, it is not possible for the mother to own the fetus, and as such own the child after birth and for the child to have self-ownership (not by exclusive ownership theories). As such, only one can be the owner, but to deny either one their legitimate ownership is to perform an act of aggression, or to deny the acceptance of one of the two principles (either homesteading or self-ownership).


I've heard one interesting counter (not a direct counter to this argument, but it could be applied to this) from miniarchist libertarian on this site, in that everything holds self-ownership, but we are only obligated to respect that self-ownership once something claims itself. Meaning that a cow has self-ownership, but until it claims its self-ownership we may continue acting as if it doesn't. The same applies to a baby. It has self-ownership, but until it reaches the rational state to be able to claim its own self-ownership, we may treat it as if it is "owned" by its parent.

[can you expand on this]
are you saying one needs to be "aware" or rational enough to understand they have self-ownership in order to claim self-ownership? how would one go about claiming self-ownership when they reach an certain degree of "awareness"

They would claim it be resisting against those that are oppressing it. But I'll try to find the actual thread that it was in.
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headphonegut
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11/30/2011 5:43:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/30/2011 5:25:21 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/30/2011 4:46:32 PM, headphonegut wrote:
At 11/30/2011 11:30:27 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/30/2011 10:52:23 AM, Homo_Sacer wrote:
At 11/30/2011 9:40:16 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
But that is an illogical assumption. It is entirely possible to use a computer without having the consent of the owner. For example, many offices don't allow their employees to access facebook on work computers, but employees often do anyway. So you cannot say that just because they are on facebook on the computer that they must have consent. Such an assumption is like saying, "if a man is having sex with a women, we should assume it is consentual," when it is entirely possible that rape is actually occuring.

I may have miscommunicated. My intention was not to claim that use presupposes consent; the libertarian argument, rather, is that, for property affected by prior ownership claims, legitimate use of such property, by someone other than the owner, requires the consent of the owner. Co-opting your example of office computers, I am not saying that they always have consent; rather, I use "must" so as to indicate that consent is a necessary condition for legitimate use of property by others (in this case, by the company). Similarly, it isn't that all sex is consensual; rather, a man must have consent (i.e., consent is required), for the sex to be "legitimate", legally speaking. I apologize if my meaning was unclear.

Of course, I'm merely going back to the OP in that some believe that it is not possible at all to negate exlusive ownership or self ownership. Because it is dependent upon certain assumptions, without those assumptions, it can be negated.


No, that is the correct interpretation from a libertarian standpoint, the argument is that such a stand point is inaccurate. For one, the use-theory of mixing labor with land (or un-owned property in general) grants ownership is an assumption and man made concept. The Discourse Ethics attempts to claim that these are absolute. It attempts to make the jump from self-ownership being a man-made concept, to a logical natural law.

This is an interesting counterargument. A libertarian, I think, might respond by arguing that, because two people cannot simultaneously use a scarce resource (as you cannot, for instance, have my cake while I eat it), a coherent rule for resource allocation is necessary. Though I think you may be right in claiming that the mixture of use or labor with unowned resources is perhaps nothing more than a convenient assertion, there is a question of whether you would consider any theory of ownership-conferral legitimate. If you would answer no, the second question is how you propose to legitimately resolve disputes over unowned resources.

If we want to dig down to bottom roots, it all traces back to might makes right. Rights are a concept invented by society to help things run smoother. As such, they are free to be invented or destroyed, as the mighty chooses. In our case, the mighty is the government (suppose to be the people who give power to the government to be a servent to them, but meh). It chooses to allow such rights to help society function in a way that the government likes.

These rights are enforced by if someone takes something from me, the government (should) take it from the taker, and willingly give it back to me. As the government is suppose to be the highest level of might, it has the power to take from anyone (or any takers). The government is suppose to have a moral code that it only exerts this power that we've given it under certain circumstances.


But even then, one can go on to how the homesteading principle (mixing labor with un-owned property) contridicts self ownership unless the NAP is violated.

This is also an interesting counterargument. Would you care to explain?

Let us assume that we are acting under the NAP (as in aggression is not allowed, once aggression is comitted, that counts as a violation).

When a women is pregnant, she exerts labor (meaning work, her body does work, not just refering to "labor" as in giving birth) in creating and growing a baby. By the homestead principle, her mixing her labor (or the body's labor, as the growing of the baby is not entire a conscious act) with the embryo and later fetus, means that she is the legitimate owner of that baby's body.

This comes with several assumptions, which are backed by traditional libertarian positions.

1) Direct labor is not required for ownership.

This basically means, that any labor that your property does, becomes your property. An example would be farming. If you own the land and corn grows naturally without any help from you (watered by rain and grown by sunshine), the corn is legitimately yours.

2) Rationality is a requirement for personhood (and by extension, rights and self-ownership).

This is evident by denying animals self-ownership, and treating them in a way in which you were to treat a human, would be a gross violation of their rights. This is also apparent by if I were to steal a cow from a cattle farmer, it would be classified as stealing his property.

3) An embryo is not classified as a rational being, and so has no rights until it achieves the rational level.

This can be seen in Mises, Hoppe, Rand, and others. This is also apparent by the support of abortion. If embryoes and fetuses would considered rational, then they would hold the right to life and so abortion would be considered murder.

Moving on from this, it is not possible for the mother to own the fetus, and as such own the child after birth and for the child to have self-ownership (not by exclusive ownership theories). As such, only one can be the owner, but to deny either one their legitimate ownership is to perform an act of aggression, or to deny the acceptance of one of the two principles (either homesteading or self-ownership).


I've heard one interesting counter (not a direct counter to this argument, but it could be applied to this) from miniarchist libertarian on this site, in that everything holds self-ownership, but we are only obligated to respect that self-ownership once something claims itself. Meaning that a cow has self-ownership, but until it claims its self-ownership we may continue acting as if it doesn't. The same applies to a baby. It has self-ownership, but until it reaches the rational state to be able to claim its own self-ownership, we may treat it as if it is "owned" by its parent.

[can you expand on this]
are you saying one needs to be "aware" or rational enough to understand they have self-ownership in order to claim self-ownership? how would one go about claiming self-ownership when they reach an certain degree of "awareness"

They would claim it be resisting against those that are oppressing it. But I'll try to find the actual thread that it was in.

thanks
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Homo_Sacer
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12/1/2011 1:06:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/30/2011 11:30:27 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Of course, I'm merely going back to the OP in that some believe that it is not possible at all to negate exlusive ownership or self ownership. Because it is dependent upon certain assumptions, without those assumptions, it can be negated.

Presumably, libertarians (or Habermasians in general) would reply that one cannot discard those assumptions without at the same time giving up on meaningful discourse, i.e., one's ability to negate through argument, altogether. In its essence, however, this is an entirely different argument. I understand your thoughts completely.

If we want to dig down to bottom roots, it all traces back to might makes right. Rights are a concept invented by society to help things run smoother. As such, they are free to be invented or destroyed, as the mighty chooses. In our case, the mighty is the government (suppose to be the people who give power to the government to be a servent to them, but meh). It chooses to allow such rights to help society function in a way that the government likes.

I think the question here is what sorts of criteria the government might use to settle these disputes, then. Changing the agent does not, I don't think, change the nature of the decision which must be made. You might think, of course, that the process is simply arbitrary. Though this poses some interesting questions regarding sovereignty and the justification of state power, I think it would likely be consistent.

These rights are enforced by if someone takes something from me, the government (should) take it from the taker, and willingly give it back to me. As the government is suppose to be the highest level of might, it has the power to take from anyone (or any takers). The government is suppose to have a moral code that it only exerts this power that we've given it under certain circumstances.

Peculiar to consider. I'm curious as to the content of this moral code for a couple of reasons, one being that, if it is the case, either descriptively or normatively, that might makes right, it doesn't seem clear that the notion of "giving power with conditions" is anything other than a kind of rationalized afterthought. History certainly suggests that such contracts never manifested between emergent states and their subjects. Even you seem to scoff at this, noting parenthetically that consensual transition of power is supposed to be involved, before shrugging off the idea.

The other reason is that we are supposing that all normative claims to rights are being stripped away here, including self-ownership. Typically, contractarian theories ground their arguments in the notion that individuals come to a unanimous decision (unanimity being its own strange consideration, of course) to grant the government this and that power in exchange for certain services and guarantees. However, this grounding typically occurs in the context of individual rights; if, as you claim, rights are nothing but a convenient construction (which you may be quite right in supposing), it is unclear why you also claim that the government ought to require the consent and sanction of the governed to derive its power legitimately. In a nature setting, sans the supposition of self-ownership, it seems as though acts such as rape may be licensed in the absence of a woman's rightful claim to her body. Similarly, it seems as though a government could simply conquer the people it intended to govern without concern for contracts or consent insofar as it can maintain its power without asking for the sanction of its subjects.

Let us assume that we are acting under the NAP (as in aggression is not allowed, once aggression is comitted, that counts as a violation).

When a women is pregnant, she exerts labor (meaning work, her body does work, not just refering to "labor" as in giving birth) in creating and growing a baby. By the homestead principle, her mixing her labor (or the body's labor, as the growing of the baby is not entire a conscious act) with the embryo and later fetus, means that she is the legitimate owner of that baby's body.

This comes with several assumptions, which are backed by traditional libertarian positions.

1) Direct labor is not required for ownership.

2) Rationality is a requirement for personhood (and by extension, rights and self-ownership).

3) An embryo is not classified as a rational being, and so has no rights until it achieves the rational level.

Moving on from this, it is not possible for the mother to own the fetus, and as such own the child after birth and for the child to have self-ownership (not by exclusive ownership theories). As such, only one can be the owner, but to deny either one their legitimate ownership is to perform an act of aggression, or to deny the acceptance of one of the two principles (either homesteading or self-ownership).

I've heard one interesting counter (not a direct counter to this argument, but it could be applied to this) from miniarchist libertarian on this site, in that everything holds self-ownership, but we are only obligated to respect that self-ownership once something claims itself. Meaning that a cow has self-ownership, but until it claims its self-ownership we may continue acting as if it doesn't. The same applies to a baby. It has self-ownership, but until it reaches the rational state to be able to claim its own self-ownership, we may treat it as if it is "owned" by its parent.

Of course, this has a negative issue with it, in that it is basically saying you are violating the self-ownership of everything, but it is okay under conditions XYZ. Because conditions XYZ were created so that we could continue living in a way that we see fit, it opens the ethical doors to creating other conditions to allow us to live as we see fit.

What happens, is that it takes the libertarian guidelines from a code that we live our life by (not me in particular, since I'm not libertarian) to a code that is customized to how we live our life. Meaning that we are not adjusting our lives to the code, we are adjusting the code to our lives. So there must be something else, something deeper that is the code by which we live.

I think that's an interesting line of argument, and one about which I will have to interview a few libertarians. Immediately, one response that I think of is similar to the one you cited by the minarchist libertarian: there is perhaps a distinction to be made between the non-rational fetus and child and the rational individual. For a discourse libertarian, the discovery of norms comes through discourse, which itself has particular presuppositions required for the exchange to be meaningful. A discourse libertarian might argue, therefore, that, because self-ownership is a presupposition made prior to settling normative disputes, the ability to engage in coherent argumentation over norms, rather than rationality per se, is a determiner of status. I think we might both agree that there is a further line which must be drawn regarding what constitutes "coherent discourse", but the difficulty of articulating such criteria, a discourse libertarian might argue, is immaterial to the question of whether the principle itself is sensible. In this way, the notion of "claiming self-ownership" occurs through the realization of an agent's ability to engage in discourse. Fetuses, certainly, and infants, also, cannot engage in argumentation, meaning that the idea of "fetuses' rights", for example, is inherently self-defeating. Adults, however, can do so, as can teenagers and even some children. I think, perhaps, that there is some ground yet to be broken on the question of when discourse-based rights claims become possible, but I think, at the very least, that this might serve as a consideration. Yours is arguably a fascinating counterclaim.
Ore_Ele
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12/1/2011 2:20:34 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 12/1/2011 1:06:37 PM, Homo_Sacer wrote:

Presumably, libertarians (or Habermasians in general) would reply that one cannot discard those assumptions without at the same time giving up on meaningful discourse, i.e., one's ability to negate through argument, altogether. In its essence, however, this is an entirely different argument. I understand your thoughts completely.


Yes, but even if they claim that, it still is not logical. Meaningful discourse can still occur even if I do not hold self-ownership. Now, one could say, that if I do not own my own body, why should I have any say at all? As such, whatever I say can be ignored out of hand, and so meaningful discourse is not taking place. But if the logic is that unless you are the owner of one of the things being talked about (as common in cases of negotiating trades or contracts), your opinion is meaningless.

This is would imply that just about every conversation on DDO is meaningless, or most conversations in general. Any conversation that is not about what you own would be considered meaningless discourse. This would also imply that advisors are meaningless, as they are not the owners of any part of a transaction, they only provide objective, 3rd party opinions. And those opinions are valued.

Of course, we could fall back on, "they own those opinions" and so they have some form of ownership to bring to the table to allow meaningful discourse. But to own your own opinion does not require you to own your body, but only your concious mind. And then, we would see that ownership exists only entirely within non-physical realms (thoughts, opinions, ideas, etc).

And so non-physical ownership theories can make sense.


Peculiar to consider. I'm curious as to the content of this moral code for a couple of reasons, one being that, if it is the case, either descriptively or normatively, that might makes right, it doesn't seem clear that the notion of "giving power with conditions" is anything other than a kind of rationalized afterthought. History certainly suggests that such contracts never manifested between emergent states and their subjects. Even you seem to scoff at this, noting parenthetically that consensual transition of power is supposed to be involved, before shrugging off the idea.

Might makes right is not really a "moral code," that may have been poor wording. It is more of a statement that there are no objective morals in the world. Any "morals" that we have, we choose to have, and are simply in the realm of thoughts and ideas, not in the real world. Might makes right is the closest to the real world, because it best describes how the world opperates, both with humans and nature.


The other reason is that we are supposing that all normative claims to rights are being stripped away here, including self-ownership. Typically, contractarian theories ground their arguments in the notion that individuals come to a unanimous decision (unanimity being its own strange consideration, of course) to grant the government this and that power in exchange for certain services and guarantees. However, this grounding typically occurs in the context of individual rights; if, as you claim, rights are nothing but a convenient construction (which you may be quite right in supposing), it is unclear why you also claim that the government ought to require the consent and sanction of the governed to derive its power legitimately.

This is because the government is not a physical thing. It is something that is made by people. Power is given by people (I should have said, "given by people" rather than "given by the people") and basically pooled into a single entity (like Voltron, in a way) that can focus that power to achieve goals. In order to do things, it requires people that have power (like the power of an Army and police force) to support it.

While it is completely possible and often common, that a few people with a lot of power have a different will than the majority of the people (A person that has a tank has more physical power than a person that doesn't even have a hand gun), and thus can use that power to exert their will on others. However, more often than not, they do not have more power than the majority, they simply have more power than the majority is willing to expend in resistance. This becomes evident when the people rise up and overthrow a government that has been over reaching. It is not that the people never had the power to overthrow, but that they never had the collective will.

In a nature setting, sans the supposition of self-ownership, it seems as though acts such as rape may be licensed in the absence of a woman's rightful claim to her body. Similarly, it seems as though a government could simply conquer the people it intended to govern without concern for contracts or consent insofar as it can maintain its power without asking for the sanction of its subjects.


Protecting against rape is one of the duties that the people often assign their government when they give power to it. If a government says "no, I'm not going to protect women from rape," you can expect in most cases, the people with withdraw their power from the government and replace it with one that will. If we go to a purely natural setting, we find that rape is fairly common in nature, as is murder (not killing for food, but just killing), theft, etc. All these things that we consider "rights" only exist because we've formed a government and assigned it the task of protecting those "rights."


I think that's an interesting line of argument, and one about which I will have to interview a few libertarians. Immediately, one response that I think of is similar to the one you cited by the minarchist libertarian: there is perhaps a distinction to be made between the non-rational fetus and child and the rational individual. For a discourse libertarian, the discovery of norms comes through discourse, which itself has particular presuppositions required for the exchange to be meaningful. A discourse libertarian might argue, therefore, that, because self-ownership is a presupposition made prior to settling normative disputes, the ability to engage in coherent argumentation over norms, rather than rationality per se, is a determiner of status. I think we might both agree that there is a further line which must be drawn regarding what constitutes "coherent discourse", but the difficulty of articulating such criteria, a discourse libertarian might argue, is immaterial to the question of whether the principle itself is sensible. In this way, the notion of "claiming self-ownership" occurs through the realization of an agent's ability to engage in discourse. Fetuses, certainly, and infants, also, cannot engage in argumentation, meaning that the idea of "fetuses' rights", for example, is inherently self-defeating. Adults, however, can do so, as can teenagers and even some children. I think, perhaps, that there is some ground yet to be broken on the question of when discourse-based rights claims become possible, but I think, at the very least, that this might serve as a consideration. Yours is arguably a fascinating counterclaim.

Even if we come to the agreement that at some point, a child becomes rational (however we wish to define that point), we must accept that before that point, the child was the mother's property (by the homesteading principle) and after that point, it is no longer the mother's property. Looking at it, it appears clear that property was removed from the mother's ownership against her will, which is a violation of the NAP.
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Homo_Sacer
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12/1/2011 6:57:49 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 12/1/2011 2:20:34 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Yes, but even if they claim that, it still is not logical. Meaningful discourse can still occur even if I do not hold self-ownership. Now, one could say, that if I do not own my own body, why should I have any say at all? As such, whatever I say can be ignored out of hand, and so meaningful discourse is not taking place. But if the logic is that unless you are the owner of one of the things being talked about (as common in cases of negotiating trades or contracts), your opinion is meaningless.

This is would imply that just about every conversation on DDO is meaningless, or most conversations in general. Any conversation that is not about what you own would be considered meaningless discourse. This would also imply that advisors are meaningless, as they are not the owners of any part of a transaction, they only provide objective, 3rd party opinions. And those opinions are valued.

Of course, we could fall back on, "they own those opinions" and so they have some form of ownership to bring to the table to allow meaningful discourse. But to own your own opinion does not require you to own your body, but only your concious mind. And then, we would see that ownership exists only entirely within non-physical realms (thoughts, opinions, ideas, etc).

And so non-physical ownership theories can make sense.

It isn't, I don't think, a question of bringing ownership to the table as a subject of discussion; rather, to engage in a meaningful act of discourse, one must presuppose, according to the libertarian corollary to Habermas, that each individual participating in the discourse is a self-owning entity. Without this initial freedom from intrusion, the libertarian might argue, the debate over norms loses its meaning.

Additionally: how familiar are you with Habermas' commentary on discourse ethics and communicative action?

Might makes right is not really a "moral code," that may have been poor wording. It is more of a statement that there are no objective morals in the world. Any "morals" that we have, we choose to have, and are simply in the realm of thoughts and ideas, not in the real world. Might makes right is the closest to the real world, because it best describes how the world opperates, both with humans and nature.

I see. Thank you for the clarification. There are certain points, such as the notion that "the realm of thoughts and ideas" is always necessarily disconnected from the external world, which I think might make for some interesting discussion in the future, though I think they're perhaps immaterial to this conversation.

This is because the government is not a physical thing. It is something that is made by people. Power is given by people (I should have said, "given by people" rather than "given by the people") and basically pooled into a single entity (like Voltron, in a way) that can focus that power to achieve goals. In order to do things, it requires people that have power (like the power of an Army and police force) to support it.

This is to say, if I understand correctly, that it is not a matter of individuals delegating power by their consent to an external government, as a contractarian might submit, but rather, the conceptual embodiment of the aggregated acting power of a group of individuals?

While it is completely possible and often common, that a few people with a lot of power have a different will than the majority of the people (A person that has a tank has more physical power than a person that doesn't even have a hand gun), and thus can use that power to exert their will on others. However, more often than not, they do not have more power than the majority, they simply have more power than the majority is willing to expend in resistance. This becomes evident when the people rise up and overthrow a government that has been over reaching. It is not that the people never had the power to overthrow, but that they never had the collective will.

By and large, I believe I agree. Two qualifications I would propose, however: first, I think there might be a useful distinction between different sorts of power, not only "soft" and "hard" power, but economic power, political power, military power, intelligence, social class and traditions, etc. I think it might be useful to point out the possibility that, in addition to the quantity of power applied on majorities, power-type is also important. Non-military power, for example (e.g. application of economic power with large public spending and safety net programs), is significantly less likely, I would think, to cause rebellion than the application of hard power.

Protecting against rape is one of the duties that the people often assign their government when they give power to it. If a government says "no, I'm not going to protect women from rape," you can expect in most cases, the people with withdraw their power from the government and replace it with one that will. If we go to a purely natural setting, we find that rape is fairly common in nature, as is murder (not killing for food, but just killing), theft, etc. All these things that we consider "rights" only exist because we've formed a government and assigned it the task of protecting those "rights."

Quite true in a descriptive sense; however, I misunderstood your claim and disagreed with what was essentially a straw man, i.e., that you were making normative claims about how governments ought to have consent of the governed while also implicitly justifying violent conquest by denying self-ownership rights (rights on which most, if not all, contract-consent theories are grounded). My apologies.

Even if we come to the agreement that at some point, a child becomes rational (however we wish to define that point), we must accept that before that point, the child was the mother's property (by the homesteading principle) and after that point, it is no longer the mother's property. Looking at it, it appears clear that property was removed from the mother's ownership against her will, which is a violation of the NAP.

I think there are two distinctions required here: first, advocates of the nonaggression principle would argue that, because there is not an external power coercing the mother into giving up her son, there is no more violation in this case than if a storm "stole" a man's property by destroying his house. Second, they might also counter with a distinction between two entities: the property-child and the agent-child. The property-child, by definition, is the property of the mother. The agent-child, on the other hand, wields and expresses self-ownership. Though we may be hard-pressed to locate the point in time where this right manifests, we can comment on the nature of that threshold by suggesting that, at this point, one entity disappears to be replaced by another: the woman's property disappears to be replaced by an independent agent. That is to say: at the point where a child may rightfully claim self-ownership, the woman's property ceases to exist, thereby nullifying claims of theft.

Consider, if you will, a brief thought experiment: suppose I own a rock. In this world, a random ray zaps an object one a minute, turning that object into a fully-grown human being capable of claiming self-ownership. Suppose, one day, that my property-rock is zapped by the ray and transformed into an agent-geologist.

In this case, one cannot declare a theft, as my property was deprived of me by a non-existence caused by a natural occurrence. Similar to the way in which my rock is transformed by nature into a geologist (with the rock ceasing to exist), so too is a property-child replaced, by the process of maturity, with an agent-child (with the property-child ceasing to exist as an identity).

Thanks for provoking my thoughts on this subject. Libertarianism is always interesting to research and learn about.
Ore_Ele
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12/5/2011 2:44:51 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 12/1/2011 6:57:49 PM, Homo_Sacer wrote:

It isn't, I don't think, a question of bringing ownership to the table as a subject of discussion; rather, to engage in a meaningful act of discourse, one must presuppose, according to the libertarian corollary to Habermas, that each individual participating in the discourse is a self-owning entity. Without this initial freedom from intrusion, the libertarian might argue, the debate over norms loses its meaning.

But why does it lose its meaning? Why must self-ownership be pre-assumed for there to be meaningin one's conversation with another?


Additionally: how familiar are you with Habermas' commentary on discourse ethics and communicative action?

On a scale of 1 - 10, I'd say about a 3.



I see. Thank you for the clarification. There are certain points, such as the notion that "the realm of thoughts and ideas" is always necessarily disconnected from the external world, which I think might make for some interesting discussion in the future, though I think they're perhaps immaterial to this conversation.

I would agree that this is for a different time and place. Character count is already limited enough, lol.


This is to say, if I understand correctly, that it is not a matter of individuals delegating power by their consent to an external government, as a contractarian might submit, but rather, the conceptual embodiment of the aggregated acting power of a group of individuals?

That would be correct. I think I know where this might be heading, but I'll wait for it to play out.


By and large, I believe I agree. Two qualifications I would propose, however: first, I think there might be a useful distinction between different sorts of power, not only "soft" and "hard" power, but economic power, political power, military power, intelligence, social class and traditions, etc. I think it might be useful to point out the possibility that, in addition to the quantity of power applied on majorities, power-type is also important. Non-military power, for example (e.g. application of economic power with large public spending and safety net programs), is significantly less likely, I would think, to cause rebellion than the application of hard power.

That is true to an extent. A libertarian would argue (as many on this board have in the past) that it is all the same physical power, simply being applied in different ways.

You mentioned stimulus spending and public safety nets. Many libertarians here would argue that the only reason that the government can offer stimulus spending is because they collect taxes, and threaten physical force to obtain those taxes (if you don't pay, the government locks you up). So that government spending, which would have been classified as economic power, would be traced back to physical force (or threat there of).

Really, there are only two powers that I've found. Physical and Persuasive. If I thought about it more, I might be able to find others, but those seem to be the two main ones that everything falls back upon.


Quite true in a descriptive sense; however, I misunderstood your claim and disagreed with what was essentially a straw man, i.e., that you were making normative claims about how governments ought to have consent of the governed while also implicitly justifying violent conquest by denying self-ownership rights (rights on which most, if not all, contract-consent theories are grounded). My apologies.

None need, misunderstandings happen, especially when we are limited to 8,000 characters and are only talking through text (lack of body language, verbal tone, delay in responces so clarification takes longer, etc).


I think there are two distinctions required here: first, advocates of the nonaggression principle would argue that, because there is not an external power coercing the mother into giving up her son, there is no more violation in this case than if a storm "stole" a man's property by destroying his house.

A storm may transfer an object from one place to another, and may alter they condition of that object, but it cannot really transfer the ownership from one person to another. You can say that if a storm blew a car from your house onto my lawn, it is now my car. This is because every action that the storm does, effects the real world and only the real world. While ownership is more lines with the thoughts and ideas world.

Currently, I can't think of any natural, non-human action that can unvoluntarily tranfer ownership. If a dog eats your watch and "passes" it the next day, it is still your watch (though you may no longer want it, it is your choice to reliquish those ownership rights).

Just realized that this could be spun into a joke about brain storming altering ownership or something.

Second, they might also counter with a distinction between two entities: the property-child and the agent-child. The property-child, by definition, is the property of the mother. The agent-child, on the other hand, wields and expresses self-ownership. Though we may be hard-pressed to locate the point in time where this right manifests, we can comment on the nature of that threshold by suggesting that, at this point, one entity disappears to be replaced by another: the woman's property disappears to be replaced by an independent agent. That is to say: at the point where a child may rightfully claim self-ownership, the woman's property ceases to exist, thereby nullifying claims of theft.

That is one that I have not thought of before. That the child could be considered a new entity at the threshold point. However, I think that would be an excellent argument in regards to the child's mind and if self-ownership applied to one's thoughts and ideas, but I cannot see that holding up to the physical body. It is not a new physical body.


Consider, if you will, a brief thought experiment: suppose I own a rock. In this world, a random ray zaps an object one a minute, turning that object into a fully-grown human being capable of claiming self-ownership. Suppose, one day, that my property-rock is zapped by the ray and transformed into an agent-geologist.

In this case, one cannot declare a theft, as my property was deprived of me by a non-existence caused by a natural occurrence. Similar to the way in which my rock is transformed by nature into a geologist (with the rock ceasing to exist), so too is a property-child replaced, by the process of maturity, with an agent-child (with the property-child ceasing to exist as an identity).

I suppose we can dive into "what a rock." I re-thought of this with water in place of a rock. I was thinking that if a ray re-arranged the atoms to create the body, those atoms are technically my property. However, in thinking that, it also occured to me that atoms are always changing (in the case of water, evaporating and condensing, which is why I changed from rock to water). If my water evaporates, do I have any real claim to the H2O molecules? If I had a way to track my atoms, and they condensed on your window, could I go get them? If not (which I think most libertarians would agree), then we must accept that ownership does not go down to a quantum level, and that you have no ownership claim on that.

Now, one may be tempted to claim that ownership can be dismissed via reduction to absurdity, however, because the actual physical laws in quantum are different than the normal world, we can say it is entirely possible that ownership can't exist in quantum, but can in normal scale. This also allows that ownership is not required to be absolute to be consistent.


Thanks for provoking my thoughts on this subject. Libertarianism is always interesting to research and learn about.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"