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Reluctant_Liberal
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7/4/2012 10:34:01 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Constructs exist only in the mind, where they really exist.

So, for example, the idea of a table is a construct. It is a category that English speakers have mostly agreed to label certain kinds of objects, though at the edges of definition legitimate disagreement is possible, and something can be only sort of a table. (Screw Plato's forms)

So, at the table end of the table spectrum, you have the classic dinner table with a flat surface at waist height and four legs. Moving down the line (for English speaking cultures), you have shortened tables that require sitting on the floor. Moving further down the line, you might find a a worked boulder that was altered so that a person sitting in front of the boulder has more leg room. At the end of the spectrum, you can have an unworked boulder upon which someone stranded on a an island prepares and eats all his meals. This final example is just a rock, but it fulfills the functions of a table and to that extent is rightly considered a table.

So, why in the name of Zorg am I talking about tables so much? Because the concept of "table" is one that we've mostly agreed on the meanings of (making it a construct) but their can be legitimate disagreement about whether something is a table or not. It is is possible to say that "In this way this object fulfills the agreed ideal of a table and thus should be considered a table, and in this way this object does not fulfill the ideal of a table and should not be considered a table."

This is important because most things worth talking about are constructs. On the forum I saw someone arguing that rights don't really exist, so nothing can be a right. This person was right in the sense that rights do not possess independent reality apart from a mind thinking about them, but that isn't the same thing as not existing. That would be like arguing that theories don't exist since they don't exist outside the mind either. You can write down theories and argue about whether something meets the agreed standards of a good theory, just like you can write down supposed rights and argue about which ones meet the agreed standards of a good right.

Is anyone going to argue that theories aren't worth arguing about? No? Then stop trying to delegitimize rights because they don't exist independently of the mind. You can argue against them as a bad framework or historically problematic and Western-centric, but don't argue that they don't exist. You'll just fall into absurdities. It's amazing all the things that don't exist in that sense.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,484
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7/4/2012 11:39:11 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 10:34:01 AM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
Constructs exist only in the mind, where they really exist.

"Really exist" doesn't mean anything.

So, for example, the idea of a table is a construct. It is a category that English speakers have mostly agreed to label certain kinds of objects, though at the edges of definition legitimate disagreement is possible, and something can be only sort of a table. (Screw Plato's forms)

So, at the table end of the table spectrum, you have the classic dinner table with a flat surface at waist height and four legs. Moving down the line (for English speaking cultures), you have shortened tables that require sitting on the floor. Moving further down the line, you might find a a worked boulder that was altered so that a person sitting in front of the boulder has more leg room. At the end of the spectrum, you can have an unworked boulder upon which someone stranded on a an island prepares and eats all his meals. This final example is just a rock, but it fulfills the functions of a table and to that extent is rightly considered a table.

So, why in the name of Zorg am I talking about tables so much? Because the concept of "table" is one that we've mostly agreed on the meanings of (making it a construct) but their can be legitimate disagreement about whether something is a table or not. It is is possible to say that "In this way this object fulfills the agreed ideal of a table and thus should be considered a table, and in this way this object does not fulfill the ideal of a table and should not be considered a table."

This is important because most things worth talking about are constructs. On the forum I saw someone arguing that rights don't really exist, so nothing can be a right. This person was right in the sense that rights do not possess independent reality apart from a mind thinking about them, but that isn't the same thing as not existing. That would be like arguing that theories don't exist since they don't exist outside the mind either. You can write down theories and argue about whether something meets the agreed standards of a good theory, just like you can write down supposed rights and argue about which ones meet the agreed standards of a good right.

Is anyone going to argue that theories aren't worth arguing about? No? Then stop trying to delegitimize rights because they don't exist independently of the mind. You can argue against them as a bad framework or historically problematic and Western-centric, but don't argue that they don't exist. You'll just fall into absurdities. It's amazing all the things that don't exist in that sense.

Actually, I not only argue that rights don't exist. I argue that we shouldn't talk about them, either. Get rid of the concept of right, of entitlement, and of dessert. They're all relational nouns. Rights don't exist in a vacuum, and neither does entitlement. One always has a right to something else, or is entitled to some something. I deny that that relation is ever legitimate. When I say "rights don't exist", what I really imply a dialogue:

A: I have a right to X.
B: No you don't.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,484
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7/4/2012 11:43:55 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
You could just redefine "right" as "a relation of entitlement by law", but then you're not even talking about the same thing anymore. It's like redefining "table" as "a slithering reptilian organism". Or, you could define "God" as "air" to prove that God exists. You could easily do it, and make coherent sentences out of it, but everyone will laugh at you for being a retard.

What's important are the referents for conceptual constructs. When everyone talks about tables, they mean a vague category of referents. Flat top, maybe some legs, etc. "Rights" have nothing exterior to reference. A right or entitlement isn't a legitimate relation--the only way to circumvent it is to either A) pretend, in which case it's deuces wild on what you get to pretend exists, or B) encode it in law, in which case you're just hijacking the connotations of the word "right" as it appears in moral discourse, which is disingenuous.
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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7/4/2012 11:52:14 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 11:39:11 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Actually, I not only argue that rights don't exist. I argue that we shouldn't talk about them, either

What place does the word 'should' have in a nihilistic worldview?
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,484
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7/4/2012 12:03:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 11:52:14 AM, Kinesis wrote:
At 7/4/2012 11:39:11 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Actually, I not only argue that rights don't exist. I argue that we shouldn't talk about them, either

What place does the word 'should' have in a nihilistic worldview?

Old habits dying hard, for one. Just take the Wittgenstein line about language games--once you get caught up in a particular jargon in some context, it's really difficult to extricate yourself from that mode of thinking and speaking.

On the other hand, the prudential form isn't always bad. If I'm vomiting up blood, I should probably go see a physician.

inb4 "Let's just define morality as hypothetical imperatives!"
Reluctant_Liberal
Posts: 20
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7/4/2012 12:10:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 11:39:11 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 7/4/2012 10:34:01 AM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
Constructs exist only in the mind, where they really exist.

"Really exist" doesn't mean anything.

So, for example, the idea of a table is a construct. It is a category that English speakers have mostly agreed to label certain kinds of objects, though at the edges of definition legitimate disagreement is possible, and something can be only sort of a table. (Screw Plato's forms)

So, at the table end of the table spectrum, you have the classic dinner table with a flat surface at waist height and four legs. Moving down the line (for English speaking cultures), you have shortened tables that require sitting on the floor. Moving further down the line, you might find a a worked boulder that was altered so that a person sitting in front of the boulder has more leg room. At the end of the spectrum, you can have an unworked boulder upon which someone stranded on a an island prepares and eats all his meals. This final example is just a rock, but it fulfills the functions of a table and to that extent is rightly considered a table.

So, why in the name of Zorg am I talking about tables so much? Because the concept of "table" is one that we've mostly agreed on the meanings of (making it a construct) but their can be legitimate disagreement about whether something is a table or not. It is is possible to say that "In this way this object fulfills the agreed ideal of a table and thus should be considered a table, and in this way this object does not fulfill the ideal of a table and should not be considered a table."

This is important because most things worth talking about are constructs. On the forum I saw someone arguing that rights don't really exist, so nothing can be a right. This person was right in the sense that rights do not possess independent reality apart from a mind thinking about them, but that isn't the same thing as not existing. That would be like arguing that theories don't exist since they don't exist outside the mind either. You can write down theories and argue about whether something meets the agreed standards of a good theory, just like you can write down supposed rights and argue about which ones meet the agreed standards of a good right.

Is anyone going to argue that theories aren't worth arguing about? No? Then stop trying to delegitimize rights because they don't exist independently of the mind. You can argue against them as a bad framework or historically problematic and Western-centric, but don't argue that they don't exist. You'll just fall into absurdities. It's amazing all the things that don't exist in that sense.

Actually, I not only argue that rights don't exist. I argue that we shouldn't talk about them, either. Get rid of the concept of right, of entitlement, and of dessert. They're all relational nouns. Rights don't exist in a vacuum, and neither does entitlement. One always has a right to something else, or is entitled to some something. I deny that that relation is ever legitimate. When I say "rights don't exist", what I really imply a dialogue:

A: I have a right to X.
B: No you don't.

Laws are relational in the same sense though. Do you deny the relational protection of the law?
Reluctant_Liberal
Posts: 20
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7/4/2012 12:22:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 11:43:55 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
You could just redefine "right" as "a relation of entitlement by law", but then you're not even talking about the same thing anymore. It's like redefining "table" as "a slithering reptilian organism". Or, you could define "God" as "air" to prove that God exists. You could easily do it, and make coherent sentences out of it, but everyone will laugh at you for being a retard.

What's important are the referents for conceptual constructs. When everyone talks about tables, they mean a vague category of referents. Flat top, maybe some legs, etc. "Rights" have nothing exterior to reference. A right or entitlement isn't a legitimate relation--the only way to circumvent it is to either A) pretend, in which case it's deuces wild on what you get to pretend exists, or B) encode it in law, in which case you're just hijacking the connotations of the word "right" as it appears in moral discourse, which is disingenuous.

What is disingenuous about encoding rights in laws? If a society agrees that all children have right to be clothed, fed, and housed, how is that disingenuous? The society could simply pass a law requiring that all children be clothed, fed, and housed, but such a law would not provide an explanation for the existence of the law. "Rights" provides a framework by which a society can understand and judge its own actions. The existence of such a framework allows a society to be consistent with its own values and prevents its laws from becoming arbitrary.

So, for example, international law is heavily based on a human rights framework. Because that framework exists in the first place, international lawyers are able and do argue the legitimate bounds of human rights law, and whether it is an appropriate framework in the first place. I'm not saying that "rights" is an appropriate framework around which to structure society, but I think it is pretty inarguable that it has been useful as a tool to discuss how society should be set up.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,484
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7/4/2012 12:24:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 12:10:26 PM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
At 7/4/2012 11:39:11 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 7/4/2012 10:34:01 AM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
Constructs exist only in the mind, where they really exist.

"Really exist" doesn't mean anything.

So, for example, the idea of a table is a construct. It is a category that English speakers have mostly agreed to label certain kinds of objects, though at the edges of definition legitimate disagreement is possible, and something can be only sort of a table. (Screw Plato's forms)

So, at the table end of the table spectrum, you have the classic dinner table with a flat surface at waist height and four legs. Moving down the line (for English speaking cultures), you have shortened tables that require sitting on the floor. Moving further down the line, you might find a a worked boulder that was altered so that a person sitting in front of the boulder has more leg room. At the end of the spectrum, you can have an unworked boulder upon which someone stranded on a an island prepares and eats all his meals. This final example is just a rock, but it fulfills the functions of a table and to that extent is rightly considered a table.

So, why in the name of Zorg am I talking about tables so much? Because the concept of "table" is one that we've mostly agreed on the meanings of (making it a construct) but their can be legitimate disagreement about whether something is a table or not. It is is possible to say that "In this way this object fulfills the agreed ideal of a table and thus should be considered a table, and in this way this object does not fulfill the ideal of a table and should not be considered a table."

This is important because most things worth talking about are constructs. On the forum I saw someone arguing that rights don't really exist, so nothing can be a right. This person was right in the sense that rights do not possess independent reality apart from a mind thinking about them, but that isn't the same thing as not existing. That would be like arguing that theories don't exist since they don't exist outside the mind either. You can write down theories and argue about whether something meets the agreed standards of a good theory, just like you can write down supposed rights and argue about which ones meet the agreed standards of a good right.

Is anyone going to argue that theories aren't worth arguing about? No? Then stop trying to delegitimize rights because they don't exist independently of the mind. You can argue against them as a bad framework or historically problematic and Western-centric, but don't argue that they don't exist. You'll just fall into absurdities. It's amazing all the things that don't exist in that sense.

Actually, I not only argue that rights don't exist. I argue that we shouldn't talk about them, either. Get rid of the concept of right, of entitlement, and of dessert. They're all relational nouns. Rights don't exist in a vacuum, and neither does entitlement. One always has a right to something else, or is entitled to some something. I deny that that relation is ever legitimate. When I say "rights don't exist", what I really imply a dialogue:

A: I have a right to X.
B: No you don't.

Laws are relational in the same sense though. Do you deny the relational protection of the law?

Being protected by law is a factual condition. Having a right to something is a normative condition. Apples and oranges.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,484
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7/4/2012 12:31:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 12:22:01 PM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
At 7/4/2012 11:43:55 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
You could just redefine "right" as "a relation of entitlement by law", but then you're not even talking about the same thing anymore. It's like redefining "table" as "a slithering reptilian organism". Or, you could define "God" as "air" to prove that God exists. You could easily do it, and make coherent sentences out of it, but everyone will laugh at you for being a retard.

What's important are the referents for conceptual constructs. When everyone talks about tables, they mean a vague category of referents. Flat top, maybe some legs, etc. "Rights" have nothing exterior to reference. A right or entitlement isn't a legitimate relation--the only way to circumvent it is to either A) pretend, in which case it's deuces wild on what you get to pretend exists, or B) encode it in law, in which case you're just hijacking the connotations of the word "right" as it appears in moral discourse, which is disingenuous.

What is disingenuous about encoding rights in laws? If a society agrees that all children have right to be clothed, fed, and housed, how is that disingenuous?

At that point, you aren't talking about "rights" as they're commonly understood. You're just redefining them in a way that hijacks the connotation of the old definition and tacks it to a new definition.

Also, the basic response is "appeal to popularity".

The society could simply pass a law requiring that all children be clothed, fed, and housed, but such a law would not provide an explanation for the existence of the law. "Rights" provides a framework by which a society can understand and judge its own actions.

This is precisely what I object to. The law is completely groundless. The response is not, as you suggest, to invent some stupid transcendent anchor to which the law can be tied, and through which it may be legitimated. There is no "natural law", or "Law of law", or any other metajuridical set of values, like rights. The response to the groundlessness of law is to appropriate and embrace that groundlessness. Just admit that there's a perfectly earthly, profane reason for law existing--we don't need rights, entitlements, desserts, or anything like that. We only need to acknowledge that we don't want kids to starve or whatever, and we're good. I say we don't need law for feeding kids either, though.

The existence of such a framework allows a society to be consistent with its own values and prevents its laws from becoming arbitrary.

Actually, it just backs the arbitrariness up a level--instead of law being arbitrary, its transcendental anchor is arbitrary. "People say kids have a right to X, so they have a right to X" is just that. :P

So, for example, international law is heavily based on a human rights framework. Because that framework exists in the first place, international lawyers are able and do argue the legitimate bounds of human rights law, and whether it is an appropriate framework in the first place.

I think the concept of human rights is stupid.

I'm not saying that "rights" is an appropriate framework around which to structure society, but I think it is pretty inarguable that it has been useful as a tool to discuss how society should be set up.

Actually, you are saying that rights are the appropriate framework. They're the framework that presents and legitimates law, on your view. I don't think it's been useful--in fact, I think it's been awful and counterproductive.
Reluctant_Liberal
Posts: 20
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7/4/2012 1:09:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 12:31:16 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:


At that point, you aren't talking about "rights" as they're commonly understood. You're just redefining them in a way that hijacks the connotation of the old definition and tacks it to a new definition.

Also, the basic response is "appeal to popularity".

I haven't really proposed a new definition, so I don't really get what you're talking about.

This is precisely what I object to. The law is completely groundless. The response is not, as you suggest, to invent some stupid transcendent anchor to which the law can be tied, and through which it may be legitimated. There is no "natural law", or "Law of law", or any other metajuridical set of values, like rights. The response to the groundlessness of law is to appropriate and embrace that groundlessness. Just admit that there's a perfectly earthly, profane reason for law existing--we don't need rights, entitlements, desserts, or anything like that. We only need to acknowledge that we don't want kids to starve or whatever, and we're good. I say we don't need law for feeding kids either, though.

I have no interest in transcendent anchors. The entire concept of a construct implies that metajuridicial values are excluded. And we don't just acknowledge that we don't want kids to starve. That simply doesn't happen. Marginalized and geographically distant kids remain marginalized and geographically distant. So we set up a framework to talk about why we don't want kids to starve (the construct of rights) which allows us to be consistent and say, "Hey, marginalized and geographically distant children shouldn't starve either. We should do something about that."

I have at no point suggested that rights is the best framework for stopping children from starving, but it sure helps us talk about the problem a lot more intelligently than, "We don't want kids to starve."

The existence of such a framework allows a society to be consistent with its own values and prevents its laws from becoming arbitrary.

Actually, it just backs the arbitrariness up a level--instead of law being arbitrary, its transcendental anchor is arbitrary. "People say kids have a right to X, so they have a right to X" is just that. :P


You've implied this transcendental anchor that is totally anathema to everything I've been saying. Please read the argument I make, rather than the argument you expect me to make.

So, for example, international law is heavily based on a human rights framework. Because that framework exists in the first place, international lawyers are able and do argue the legitimate bounds of human rights law, and whether it is an appropriate framework in the first place.

I think the concept of human rights is stupid.

Bully for you. I'll just go tell the UN that all their efforts at holding national leaders accountable in a fair and unprejudiced way was a waste of time, then.

I'm not saying that "rights" is an appropriate framework around which to structure society, but I think it is pretty inarguable that it has been useful as a tool to discuss how society should be set up.

Actually, you are saying that rights are the appropriate framework. They're the framework that presents and legitimates law, on your view. I don't think it's been useful--in fact, I think it's been awful and counterproductive.

I couldn't possibly say that because I don't believe that. The thing that legitimates law is the people's believe the law is legitimate (in a practical, rather than moral sense). I'm not married to the human rights paradigm in the slightest. I think it has been mostly shaped by privileged white men and only takes into account a fraction of the people and problems that it should. If there was a better paradigm, I'd go and grudgingly complain about that one tomorrow.

Constructs are HUGELY IMPORTANT because people do and will continue to act on them as if they are reality. But just because I acknowledge their practical impact and try to see the use in them doesn't mean I'm married to every single construct I run across.
Reluctant_Liberal
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7/4/2012 1:17:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 12:24:45 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 7/4/2012 12:10:26 PM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
At 7/4/2012 11:39:11 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Laws are relational in the same sense though. Do you deny the relational protection of the law?

Being protected by law is a factual condition. Having a right to something is a normative condition. Apples and oranges.

Beg to differ. Laws are normative. Just because you don't treat them that way doesn't mean other people don't. And imputed rights exist on a factual level as well. So we're really debating apples and slightly newer, less broadly accepted apples.

And I assume that you do argue against laws you don't like, an action which acknowledges the normative values of the law, since otherwise you would be arguing against admitted facts, which would be nonsensical.
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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7/4/2012 3:16:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 12:03:51 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Old habits dying hard, for one. Just take the Wittgenstein line about language games--once you get caught up in a particular jargon in some context, it's really difficult to extricate yourself from that mode of thinking and speaking.

On the other hand, the prudential form isn't always bad. If I'm vomiting up blood, I should probably go see a physician.

inb4 "Let's just define morality as hypothetical imperatives!"

Does your conditional reduce to:

1. I'm vomiting up blood
2. I desire to go to the doctor to stop vomiting.
3. My desires propel me to go to the doctor ?

i.e. would you have reduce all statements of normativity to statements of fact to remain consistent with your worldview?

Is there are justifiable reason for you to go to the doctor, or is that just what you end up actually doing because of your sets of desires?
Nome
Posts: 40
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7/4/2012 3:24:57 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 3:16:44 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 7/4/2012 12:03:51 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Old habits dying hard, for one. Just take the Wittgenstein line about language games--once you get caught up in a particular jargon in some context, it's really difficult to extricate yourself from that mode of thinking and speaking.

On the other hand, the prudential form isn't always bad. If I'm vomiting up blood, I should probably go see a physician.

inb4 "Let's just define morality as hypothetical imperatives!"

Does your conditional reduce to:

1. I'm vomiting up blood
2. I desire to go to the doctor to stop vomiting.
3. My desires propel me to go to the doctor ?

i.e. would you have reduce all statements of normativity to statements of fact to remain consistent with your worldview?

Is there are justifiable reason for you to go to the doctor, or is that just what you end up actually doing because of your sets of desires?

One does not require an effort of mind for propagation of action. There is a flow. We have many ideas for what we do but what we do does not mind it. There only is.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,484
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7/4/2012 3:47:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 1:09:05 PM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
At 7/4/2012 12:31:16 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At that point, you aren't talking about "rights" as they're commonly understood. You're just redefining them in a way that hijacks the connotation of the old definition and tacks it to a new definition.

Also, the basic response is "appeal to popularity".

I haven't really proposed a new definition, so I don't really get what you're talking about.

"Right" is fundamentally an ethical construct, and implies an objective normative relationship between a subject and some object. You're redefining rights as "whatever society thinks someone should have", which is fine, but you cannot at the same time pretend that the constructivist route, which is routed through law, is actually a thing. In other words: you cannot, in the usual sense, actually say that people have rights.

This is precisely what I object to. The law is completely groundless. The response is not, as you suggest, to invent some stupid transcendent anchor to which the law can be tied, and through which it may be legitimated. There is no "natural law", or "Law of law", or any other metajuridical set of values, like rights. The response to the groundlessness of law is to appropriate and embrace that groundlessness. Just admit that there's a perfectly earthly, profane reason for law existing--we don't need rights, entitlements, desserts, or anything like that. We only need to acknowledge that we don't want kids to starve or whatever, and we're good. I say we don't need law for feeding kids either, though.

I have no interest in transcendent anchors. The entire concept of a construct implies that metajuridicial values are excluded.

Nope. You said, and I quote:

At 7/4/2012 12:22:01 PM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
The society could simply pass a law requiring that all children be clothed, fed, and housed, but such a law would not provide an explanation for the existence of the law. "Rights" provides a framework by which a society can understand and judge its own actions. The existence of such a framework allows a society to be consistent with its own values and prevents its laws from becoming arbitrary.

To prevent law from becoming arbitrary, you're assigning the task of legitimation to a constructed exteriority--rights. You argue that law cannot, in itself, provide an explanation for its own existence. I said it can--that people don't want kids to starve--and that notions of rights and entitlement are neither required nor philosophically useful. The implication is that, if you have some external anchor, like rights, the presentation of law is no longer arbitrary. I say that, instead of inventing stupid stuff like "human rights", we appropriate the groundlessness of law and just admit that our reasons for making rules are profane and immanent.

And we don't just acknowledge that we don't want kids to starve.

Wrong again.

If a society agrees that all children have right to be clothed, fed, and housed, how is that disingenuous?

You argue that society determines what rights are by agreeing on what they want people to be entitled to. Hence, consensus produces "rights" (though, really, they're identical if we're looking at your view). Further, rights become encoded in law. Hence, the only way for your approach--"consensus-->rights-->law"--to work is if we've already acknowledged that we don't want starving people. You cannot simultaneously argue that we haven't acknowledged these things, but have somehow developed a law-forming consensus about these things. My counterargument is only that, at the point at which you have agreement about these things, constructs like "rights" are neither necessary nor helpful.

That simply doesn't happen. Marginalized and geographically distant kids remain marginalized and geographically distant. So we set up a framework to talk about why we don't want kids to starve (the construct of rights) which allows us to be consistent and say, "Hey, marginalized and geographically distant children shouldn't starve either. We should do something about that."

Except, if we're inclined to believe that people shouldn't starve, we don't need to justify it by referring to rights. We just say "people starving sucks. Let's do something."

I have at no point suggested that rights is the best framework for stopping children from starving, but it sure helps us talk about the problem a lot more intelligently than, "We don't want kids to starve."

No it doesn't. The rights approach obfuscates the problem with noble-sounding rhetoric and convoluted discourse. Also, tying rights to humanity, which is in turn tied to mechanisms of political subjection (like citizenship), really just means that states are being given more power to manage people's lives "for their own good". :P

My approach--admitting that starving sucks--is way more direct.

Actually, it just backs the arbitrariness up a level--instead of law being arbitrary, its transcendental anchor is arbitrary. "People say kids have a right to X, so they have a right to X" is just that. :P


You've implied this transcendental anchor that is totally anathema to everything I've been saying. Please read the argument I make, rather than the argument you expect me to make.

If it's not anathema to you, then you have to admit my direct, no-bullsh*t approach is better.


I think the concept of human rights is stupid.

Bully for you. I'll just go tell the UN that all their efforts at holding national leaders accountable in a fair and unprejudiced way was a waste of time, then.

I think the way they're doing it is a waste of time. I also think it's largely counterproductive and, in its practice, a vehicle for domination by the large, wealthy states who wield most of the power over international bodies like the UN.

Actually, you are saying that rights are the appropriate framework. They're the framework that presents and legitimates law, on your view. I don't think it's been useful--in fact, I think it's been awful and counterproductive.

I couldn't possibly say that because I don't believe that. The thing that legitimates law is the people's believe the law is legitimate (in a practical, rather than moral sense).

You said this:

The existence of such a framework allows a society to be consistent with its own values and prevents its laws from becoming arbitrary.

Without rights, according to you, societies cannot be consistent with their own values, and would have arbitrary decrees all over the place. Unless you're backtracking to save face.

I'm not married to the human rights paradigm in the slightest. I think it has been mostly shaped by privileged white men and only takes into account a fraction of the people and problems that it should.

Then admit that it sucks and get rid of it. Stop pretending that it's so useful.

If there was a better paradigm, I'd go and grudgingly complain about that one tomorrow.

"Starving sucks" is a good paradigm. The more immanent, the better.

Constructs are HUGELY IMPORTANT because people do and will continue to act on them as if they are reality. But just because I acknowledge their practical impact and try to see the use in them doesn't mean I'm married to every single construct I run across.

Oh, it's a marriage alright--but it's a marriage of convenience. You should file for divorce.
Cody_Franklin
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7/4/2012 3:52:54 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 1:17:16 PM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
At 7/4/2012 12:24:45 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 7/4/2012 12:10:26 PM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
At 7/4/2012 11:39:11 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Laws are relational in the same sense though. Do you deny the relational protection of the law?

Being protected by law is a factual condition. Having a right to something is a normative condition. Apples and oranges.

Beg to differ. Laws are normative.

"I have a right to X" is a normative claim.
"I am legally entitled to X" is a statement about what the law says.

The point is that I don't deny that I am impacted by law (I don't say "protected" because, on balance, I don't record a net benefit)--the question is whether the relation is legitimate. For "rights", the relation isn't grounded on anything. For law, it's grounded on people with guns.

Look, here's the argument: it is not true that I have rights. They're not in my ontology. They aren't in my ethics, and they're useless in the legal realm.

Just because you don't treat them that way doesn't mean other people don't. And imputed rights exist on a factual level as well. So we're really debating apples and slightly newer, less broadly accepted apples.

"Imputed rights exist on a factual level as well."

Like what?

And I assume that you do argue against laws you don't like, an action which acknowledges the normative values of the law, since otherwise you would be arguing against admitted facts, which would be nonsensical.

Well, I argue against the state of law in general. Particular laws just give me ammo.
Cody_Franklin
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7/4/2012 3:55:11 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 3:16:44 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 7/4/2012 12:03:51 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Old habits dying hard, for one. Just take the Wittgenstein line about language games--once you get caught up in a particular jargon in some context, it's really difficult to extricate yourself from that mode of thinking and speaking.

On the other hand, the prudential form isn't always bad. If I'm vomiting up blood, I should probably go see a physician.

inb4 "Let's just define morality as hypothetical imperatives!"

Does your conditional reduce to:

1. I'm vomiting up blood
2. I desire to go to the doctor to stop vomiting.
3. My desires propel me to go to the doctor ?

Probably more like:

1. I'm vomiting up blood.
2. This sucks.
3. I suck at fixing it.
4. Doctors probably suck less.
5. I'd really like to stop vomiting blood.
6. Doctor > Sitting around like a jackass
7. I would prefer to see a doctor.

i.e. would you have reduce all statements of normativity to statements of fact to remain consistent with your worldview?

Nah, man. There's a hidden judgment in there. It doesn't work for objective ethics because you have to attribute moral value to things as if they're a property of the object. "I value my life" vs. "My life is valuable". It works for me doing stuff cuz every decision for everyone reduces to that.

Is there are justifiable reason for you to go to the doctor, or is that just what you end up actually doing because of your sets of desires?

"justifiable reason"? I have no idea what that means or entails.
Reluctant_Liberal
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7/4/2012 6:59:10 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Let's clean this up a little. There seems to be a lot of confusion about this point:

You said this:

The existence of such a framework allows a society to be consistent with its own values and prevents its laws from becoming arbitrary.

Without rights, according to you, societies cannot be consistent with their own values, and would have arbitrary decrees all over the place. Unless you're backtracking to save face.


I am not backtracking. Notice the wording: "The existence of such a framework." Notice I do not specify what framework. The Rights framework is the one under discussion, but any framework would do. Then: "allows." Notice I do not say exclusively allows. The rights framework is one tool among many by which a society can understand itself. Rights, in this view, do not legitimize actions and laws. They are, rather, one tool among many by which to understand and judge laws. Since they are certainly not the only way to understand and judge, or even a necessary way, they are in no way transcendent. They are not unquestionable, or even necessarily fixed. They are simply a way for society to talk to itself.

And that, I think, is superior to "starving children sucks," because "starving children sucks" has absolutely no power to reveal other things that also suck, but that we haven't noticed yet. Lack of employment opportunity can be as psychologically damaging (or more so) than starvation, but since this isn't apparent to the turds in power no one has thought to do anything about it until recently. And that's because recently we've started talking about why starvation sucks, which your system doesn't really allow for.

I think people should hold as many different frameworks in their heads as possible, because that's how you start to notice everything that needs to be fixed and how to fix it. The rights framework is one way (among many) to talk about the problems of human misery and attempts to offer ideas to address that misery. "Starvation sucks" does not offer any insights into any problem, fails as even a starting point for a solution, and can't be considered a serious improvement over an admittedly flawed system that at least offers a place to begin.

And rights are imputed by the UN, EU, US Constitution and probably NATO too. You know, all the same institutions that make laws...
Cody_Franklin
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7/7/2012 2:55:07 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/4/2012 6:59:10 PM, Reluctant_Liberal wrote:
Let's clean this up a little. There seems to be a lot of confusion about this point:

Sorry it took so long, dawg. I'm lazy.

You said this:

The existence of such a framework allows a society to be consistent with its own values and prevents its laws from becoming arbitrary.

Without rights, according to you, societies cannot be consistent with their own values, and would have arbitrary decrees all over the place. Unless you're backtracking to save face.

I am not backtracking. Notice the wording: "The existence of such a framework." Notice I do not specify what framework. The Rights framework is the one under discussion, but any framework would do. Then: "allows." Notice I do not say exclusively allows. The rights framework is one tool among many by which a society can understand itself. Rights, in this view, do not legitimize actions and laws. They are, rather, one tool among many by which to understand and judge laws.

So, the argument is that some framework is required, but, out of the set of all possible frameworks, we have rights? Fair enough (don't think it's the case, but I get it), though I don't think that's the only obvious interpretation of your language. The fact that we're having this difficulty is a testament to that.

Since they are certainly not the only way to understand and judge, or even a necessary way, they are in no way transcendent. They are not unquestionable, or even necessarily fixed. They are simply a way for society to talk to itself.

Well, they are transcendent. They're situated outside the law, as a kind of "Law of law" according to which law can be understood and judged. If a law "violates rights", it's bad, so it clearly serves that function. Whether rights could be supplanted by something else is really neither here nor there, I don't think.

And that, I think, is superior to "starving children sucks," because "starving children sucks" has absolutely no power to reveal other things that also suck, but that we haven't noticed yet.

Nah, it definitely does. Admitting the bare fact of our preferences against starvation signals our attentiveness to immediate and profane problems, like people not having things to eat. The obvious question--or implication--concerns precisely why it sucks. When we get to the level of determining why starvation sucks--painful + death--it's pretty easy to look at other stuff. It's not as if we use a preference against starvation as our point of departure.

Lack of employment opportunity can be as psychologically damaging (or more so) than starvation, but since this isn't apparent to the turds in power no one has thought to do anything about it until recently.

Really? I thought that people hiring other people to do stuff was evidence that someone is doing something.

And that's because recently we've started talking about why starvation sucks, which your system doesn't really allow for.

I don't have a system.

I think people should hold as many different frameworks in their heads as possible, because that's how you start to notice everything that needs to be fixed and how to fix it. The rights framework is one way (among many) to talk about the problems of human misery and attempts to offer ideas to address that misery.

I'm not a central controller, and I have no desire to pretend to be, so I'm not even going to engage this whole "we have problems, we must fix them" thing. I'm happy to assist people in constructing desirable forms of life for themselves--I'm not happy to pretend that I'm part of some unitary collective body that identifies with the state and goes around imposing itself on people to see its plans play out, or that there is some "proper solution" that can only be administered by a forceful managerial power.

"Starvation sucks" does not offer any insights into any problem, fails as even a starting point for a solution, and can't be considered a serious improvement over an admittedly flawed system that at least offers a place to begin.

So, we have to play pretend to solve real problems? I know that I don't have to do that.

And rights are imputed by the UN, EU, US Constitution and probably NATO too. You know, all the same institutions that make laws...

Since I don't like states, and have no desire to be subject to external power, those don't really jive with me.