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The FLO argument

zmikecuber
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12/25/2014 6:13:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Discuss. Strengths/weaknesses?
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
bladerunner060
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12/26/2014 2:55:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/25/2014 6:13:33 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
Discuss. Strengths/weaknesses?

I think it's greatest strength is that it sounds plausible.

But it has so many weaknesses...My own biggest problem with it is that it was an argument custom-made for the abortion debate. It's not a general principle...no one talks about FLO anywhere but in terms of the abortion debate. To me it feels like a rhetorical dodge, a way of sounding pretty, but not actually conveying something of substance.

In the first place, that means that statistically speaking, millions of homicides happen each year--not just in terms of abortion, but in terms of the way the reproduction system works.

It's speciesistic, to be sure--the future must be "like ours". Why? Because...because.

It justifies the notion of some lives being more "worthwhile" than others.

I think the identity objection is the strongest refutation. Any attempt to address it I've seen also sweeps up the nonsense extensions (sperm or egg individually, headless human).

But even in its own right, I think of this analogy:

Imagine you're in line at a store. You're going to buy a lottery ticket (one of the scratchers on a roll). Someone gets in front of you, cutting you. They ALSO buy a scratcher ticket--the same brand you were going to buy!

They win 1,000,000 on theirs. You win nothing.

Is their cutting you in line really the same as STEALING a winning ticket from you? I don't think anyone could possibly argue that--but it seems pretty directly analogous to the FLO argument, at least in the sense of "Is it really equivalent?" Yes, it would have been your "future" to buy your ticket, but...your future is not a real thing until it happens. You can, of course, argue that cutting in line IS bad--and I'd agree. You could also argue that it's WORSE because he screwed you out of your winning ticket...but I don't think you could possibly argue successfully that it's equivalent to theft.
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unitedandy
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12/26/2014 11:29:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/26/2014 2:55:45 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 12/25/2014 6:13:33 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
Discuss. Strengths/weaknesses?


I think it's greatest strength is that it sounds plausible.

I'd go further than that (unsurprisingly, since I think it's a pretty good argument): it provides a plausible, principled secular argument against abortion which manages to avoid pitfalls in the abortion debate like personhood. Pretty much a game-changing argument for me.

But it has so many weaknesses...My own biggest problem with it is that it was an argument custom-made for the abortion debate. It's not a general principle...no one talks about FLO anywhere but in terms of the abortion debate. To me it feels like a rhetorical dodge, a way of sounding pretty, but not actually conveying something of substance.

I don't see this as much of a criticism at all, both because it's completely irrelevant, as well as seemingly false. First, even conceding the point, so what? The uniqueness of the FLO to the abortion debate makes it tailor-made to address the specific question it has been brought to bear upon. How many people discuss the problem of evil outside a God-context, for example? Not many, and why would they?

Second, it seems to be exactly the same kind of project as exists in normative ethics (i.e. what makes killing generally wrong applies in loads of ethical contexts and is intimately bound with THE normative question, "what makes anything wrong?)".

I guess I just don't see this as a worry at all. In fact, that it begins with a definition of general wrongness and becomes more specific to weed out problem cases seems to me exactly the kind of activity philosophers of science (demarcation) or epistemologists (what is knowledge) do all the time. So, this is a very strange criticism.

In the first place, that means that statistically speaking, millions of homicides happen each year--not just in terms of abortion, but in terms of the way the reproduction system works.

I'm not sure I understand you here.

It's speciesistic, to be sure--the future must be "like ours". Why? Because...because.

It justifies the notion of some lives being more "worthwhile" than others.

I don't think this is much of a problem either. Whatever the value of non-human animal futures, I think it's relatively uncontroversial to say that a human future has value, all else being equal. Indeed, one could argue from the wrongness of animal killing either on different grounds, or perhaps even on similar grounds (they have a future of value).

Unless you want to bite the bullet and claim all else being equal, human (or human-like) experiences are not futures of value at all (to the person having that future at least),which seems completely implausible, then this point is simply a red herring.

I think the identity objection is the strongest refutation. Any attempt to address it I've seen also sweeps up the nonsense extensions (sperm or egg individually, headless human).


But even in its own right, I think of this analogy:

Imagine you're in line at a store. You're going to buy a lottery ticket (one of the scratchers on a roll). Someone gets in front of you, cutting you. They ALSO buy a scratcher ticket--the same brand you were going to buy!

They win 1,000,000 on theirs. You win nothing.

Is their cutting you in line really the same as STEALING a winning ticket from you? I don't think anyone could possibly argue that--but it seems pretty directly analogous to the FLO argument, at least in the sense of "Is it really equivalent?" Yes, it would have been your "future" to buy your ticket, but...your future is not a real thing until it happens. You can, of course, argue that cutting in line IS bad--and I'd agree. You could also argue that it's WORSE because he screwed you out of your winning ticket...but I don't think you could possibly argue successfully that it's equivalent to theft.

I don't see how this analogous at all. If "future isn't a real thing" why is murder wrong generally? If you want to argue something along the lines of the present, the problem is that Marquis refutes this point in his opening of the argument. Why would it be wrong to kill a broken-hearted, momentarily suicidal teenager? Clearly they don't value their present/past. Same with the temporary coma patient and the infant. And if the future isn't to be valued, why isn't murder of such groups permissible?

Moreover, your response completely fails at a junction where the FLO argument seems even more intuitive - euthanasia cases. If the future is somehow irrelevant, then on your view, why end the life of someone with a prognosis of unrelenting terrible pain and suffering? The FLO arguer, by contrast, can point towards such a future as clearly having negative value, and as such provide a prima facie moral case for ending such a life (admittedly with caveats about consent and so forth).

Future, it seems is the only way to account for the general wrongness of killing. Even pro-choice philosopher David Boonin acknowledges this. Welding the value of the wrongness of killing to character deprivation of the would-be murderer, or harm caused to loved ones of the victim, or as you propose past/present, will always seem to leave cases which violate our intuitions about the general wrongness of killing. As such, they are gapingly inadequate. The FLO account best addresses these intuitions. The fact that it concludes abortion to be morally wrong when we get to the unborn is just too bad. Unless you guys want to argue A) that our intuitions about said cases (infants, coma guy, etc) are wrong, or B) propose an account better or at the very least as good as FLO which can deal with intuitive cases, it seems like a very powerful argument against the moral permissibility of abortion from a wholly secular perspective.
Juan_Pablo
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12/27/2014 12:19:40 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/25/2014 6:13:33 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
Discuss. Strengths/weaknesses?

I don't exactly see people using the FLO argument to argue that people should be provided healthcare to provide them with a "future like ours". It's exclusively used for the abortion debate. What about using FLO to address the homeless population? Providing the homeless with resources would provide them with a "future like ours".

In my view, FLO doesn't have a strong foundation, particularly since it's grounded on the idea that since a fetus will go on to be a cognizant human, it should be given rights in advance, while it's still a fetus. This type of thinking doesn't really play out anywhere else in the human world. I mean, children aren't allowed to vote at least in this country until they're 18.

I think if the aim is to use FLO as a foundation for guaranteeing the right to life, it's necessarily going to affect the living choices of expectant couples and pregnant women, so there's got to be a say on this issue from them at the very least. I think relying exclusively on FLO to argue that a fetus has the right to life is pretty flimsy.
Juan_Pablo
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12/27/2014 12:24:42 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
" I mean, children aren't allowed to vote at least in this country until they're 18." <--- The point I'm making here is that children don't even get the right to decide laws and other important political decisions in this country. Sure, children have the right to life, but that's because we adult reinforce laws to make this so.
bladerunner060
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12/27/2014 12:38:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Chopping it up a bit to avoid character limitations.

At 12/26/2014 11:29:04 PM, unitedandy wrote:

I think it's greatest strength is that it sounds plausible.

I'd go further than that (unsurprisingly, since I think it's a pretty good argument): it provides a plausible, principled secular argument against abortion which manages to avoid pitfalls in the abortion debate like personhood. Pretty much a game-changing argument for me.

I know.

But I think the "personhood" debate is the only viable one to have, and that arguments like FLO are mere attempts to justify a position someone already holds--one that others contest.

I don't see this as much of a criticism at all, both because it's completely irrelevant, as well as seemingly false. First, even conceding the point, so what? The uniqueness of the FLO to the abortion debate makes it tailor-made to address the specific question it has been brought to bear upon. How many people discuss the problem of evil outside a God-context, for example? Not many, and why would they?

The problem of evil only applies to the God question, or an equivalent one. The notion of "FLO" applies rather universally...in theory. In practice, it's only applied to the abortion debate.

Second, it seems to be exactly the same kind of project as exists in normative ethics (i.e. what makes killing generally wrong applies in loads of ethical contexts and is intimately bound with THE normative question, "what makes anything wrong?)".

I would say that it fails in this regard so utterly as to not be worthwhile...but of course I would, since I think it's nonsense. Obviously, you don't--and I'd be happy to have you show me where I'm wrong, if you're okay with me attempting to do the opposite.

I guess I just don't see this as a worry at all. In fact, that it begins with a definition of general wrongness and becomes more specific to weed out problem cases seems to me exactly the kind of activity philosophers of science (demarcation) or epistemologists (what is knowledge) do all the time. So, this is a very strange criticism.

I think I see where you're coming from.

But I see it as that they're working backwards: They WANT to justify aboriton as wrong, and so therefore come up with "FLO", since religious arguments are non<x>starters and they lose the personhood debate. It feels fundamentally dishonest. Unlike a generally agreeable premise, like "Murder is wrong", this begs the question and assumes abortion is wrong, then goes ahead and finds a reason to say so. It feels like post hoc reasoning to me.

Trying to figure out these sorts of normative questions usually means starting from AGREEABLE premises, not ones where the very thing we're disagreeing about is the thing the other side would like me to assume.

In the first place, that means that statistically speaking, millions of homicides happen each year--not just in terms of abortion, but in terms of the way the reproduction system works.

I'm not sure I understand you here.

A great many fertilized eggs fail to implant. A good number of implanted eggs fail to thrive.

I said "homicide" trying to find a relatively neutral term (as opposed to murder), but it wasn't really accurate, so I suppose I failed. I think the broader and more apt term would be "deaths of FLO-qualifying individuals".

It's speciesistic, to be sure--the future must be "like ours". Why? Because...because.

It justifies the notion of some lives being more "worthwhile" than others.

I don't think this is much of a problem either. Whatever the value of non-human animal futures, I think it's relatively uncontroversial to say that a human future has value, all else being equal. Indeed, one could argue from the wrongness of animal killing either on different grounds, or perhaps even on similar grounds (they have a future of value).

You misunderstand.

I would argue that a sentient Jellyfish, who can have a conversation, who is aware of himself, is a person in its own right. The FLO argument would say "Well, the jellyfish doesn't have a future LIKE OURS".

Or use a sentient alien, if you like, rather than the thought-experiment-jellyfish. The objection is the same. Because its future is so fundamentally different than ours, it is therefore not to be considered--and that's just utterly absurd to me. I value consciousness, an argument abortion foes lose quite clearly in the early stages and which only becomes muddy later on.

Unless you want to bite the bullet and claim all else being equal, human (or human-like) experiences are not futures of value at all (to the person having that future at least),which seems completely implausible, then this point is simply a red herring.

It's not a red herring, because you misunderstood me (see above).

I'm not arguing that all life necessarily is of equal value to a human life. But I DO argue that all sentient life is of equal value--to argue otherwise is, first of all, speciesistic, and would allow the slaughter of sentient aliens. Further, however, it opens the door to arguing that, say, the mentally handicapped don't REALLY have an FLO--and so therefore aren't worth a REAL human life. Which is monstrous, of course.
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bladerunner060
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12/27/2014 12:49:21 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I think the identity objection is the strongest refutation. Any attempt to address it I've seen also sweeps up the nonsense extensions (sperm or egg individually, headless human).

I notice you kind of ignored this. No comment?

But even in its own right, I think of this analogy:

Imagine you're in line at a store. You're going to buy a lottery ticket (one of the scratchers on a roll). Someone gets in front of you, cutting you. They ALSO buy a scratcher ticket--the same brand you were going to buy!

They win 1,000,000 on theirs. You win nothing.

Is their cutting you in line really the same as STEALING a winning ticket from you? I don't think anyone could possibly argue that--but it seems pretty directly analogous to the FLO argument, at least in the sense of "Is it really equivalent?" Yes, it would have been your "future" to buy your ticket, but...your future is not a real thing until it happens. You can, of course, argue that cutting in line IS bad--and I'd agree. You could also argue that it's WORSE because he screwed you out of your winning ticket...but I don't think you could possibly argue successfully that it's equivalent to theft.

I don't see how this analogous at all. If "future isn't a real thing" why is murder wrong generally? If you want to argue something along the lines of the present, the problem is that Marquis refutes this point in his opening of the argument. Why would it be wrong to kill a broken-hearted, momentarily suicidal teenager? Clearly they don't value their present/past. Same with the temporary coma patient and the infant. And if the future isn't to be valued, why isn't murder of such groups permissible?

I would argue that Marquis attempts to refute it--but that he fails miserably. A coma patient has not lost all of their consciousness. A suicidal person is still a person. An infant is still, as far as I know, conscious.

It is not the future that we condemn murder for. It is for the loss of what the person has.

In my analogy, cutting the person in line is just NOT equivalent to stealing their ticket. Is that something you agree with, or do you equate them?

Moreover, your response completely fails at a junction where the FLO argument seems even more intuitive - euthanasia cases. If the future is somehow irrelevant, then on your view, why end the life of someone with a prognosis of unrelenting terrible pain and suffering? The FLO arguer, by contrast, can point towards such a future as clearly having negative value, and as such provide a prima facie moral case for ending such a life (admittedly with caveats about consent and so forth).

There's nothing wrong with consideration of the future. But to make an equivalency, as is attempted with the FLO, fails on its face.

The zygote is not a person yet--so you don't take away its personhood by killing it. You take away its zygote-ness.

Future, it seems is the only way to account for the general wrongness of killing.

I very strongly disagree.

In fact, future justifies murder, if you determine their life is of negative value (as you claim above, though you argue for caveats). WHy does their consent in the present matter, if it's the FUTURE that's the decider?

Even pro-choice philosopher David Boonin acknowledges this. Welding the value of the wrongness of killing to character deprivation of the would-be murderer, or harm caused to loved ones of the victim, or as you propose past/present, will always seem to leave cases which violate our intuitions about the general wrongness of killing. As such, they are gapingly inadequate.

Our intuitions can be wrong. You intuit that abortion is wrong. I do not.

The FLO account best addresses these intuitions.

I disagree.

The fact that it concludes abortion to be morally wrong when we get to the unborn is just too bad. Unless you guys want to argue A) that our intuitions about said cases (infants, coma guy, etc) are wrong, or B) propose an account better or at the very least as good as FLO which can deal with intuitive cases, it seems like a very powerful argument against the moral permissibility of abortion from a wholly secular perspective.

I propose that "coma guy" be dismissed as a bad example, because it's not someone who doesn't possess a consciousness. Brains don't shut off in comas. When they do shut off, it's brain death. They're vegetative, and in that case, they no longer get the benefits of personhood, which is why we can turn off the machines. There is value in giving the benefit of the doubt in regards to personhood. But the lack of a functioning brain means the lack of personhood.

Personhood addresses everything except that some people want to sweep the unborn in, and so the FLO gets trotted out and claimed to be the only way to justify things that are justified in a perfectly adequate way by the personhood argument.

To argue for the future is to argue that some lives are worth more than others. Is that something you intuit?
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unitedandy
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12/27/2014 1:31:01 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 12:38:33 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Chopping it up a bit to avoid character limitations.

At 12/26/2014 11:29:04 PM, unitedandy wrote:

I think it's greatest strength is that it sounds plausible.


I know.

But I think the "personhood" debate is the only viable one to have, and that arguments like FLO are mere attempts to justify a position someone already holds--one that others contest.

That's a really uncharitable way to view the argument. Why believe that the FLO proponent is any more contriving a defence of their position, than, say, the pro-choice person arguing from personhood? For my on part, I'm struggling to see what predispositions I'm trying to satisfy, being a secular progressive and all. Hardly a prime candidate for having pro-life predispositions.

Second, it's irrelevant. Whatever the motives, the argument is sound or not independently, so . .

I agree that personhood is obviously an integral part of the debate (and the infant objection is perhaps the strongest reason to be against abortion, in my view), but the point is whatever one's beliefs about personhood, the FLO account leaves it open.



The problem of evil only applies to the God question, or an equivalent one. The notion of "FLO" applies rather universally...in theory. In practice, it's only applied to the abortion debate.

Like I hinted at, it could also be used in the euthanasia discussion for example. But even if not, why think this to be a problem?

Second, it seems to be exactly the same kind of project as exists in normative ethics (i.e. what makes killing generally wrong applies in loads of ethical contexts and is intimately bound with THE normative question, "what makes anything wrong?)".

I would say that it fails in this regard so utterly as to not be worthwhile...but of course I would, since I think it's nonsense. Obviously, you don't--and I'd be happy to have you show me where I'm wrong, if you're okay with me attempting to do the opposite.

So you doubt the normative ethics project? Fair enough, but the projects (even if both are misguided) seem relatively similar.

I guess I just don't see this as a worry at all. In fact, that it begins with a definition of general wrongness and becomes more specific to weed out problem cases seems to me exactly the kind of activity philosophers of science (demarcation) or epistemologists (what is knowledge) do all the time. So, this is a very strange criticism.

I think I see where you're coming from.

But I see it as that they're working backwards: They WANT to justify aboriton as wrong, and so therefore come up with "FLO", since religious arguments are non<x>starters and they lose the personhood debate. It feels fundamentally dishonest. Unlike a generally agreeable premise, like "Murder is wrong", this begs the question and assumes abortion is wrong, then goes ahead and finds a reason to say so. It feels like post hoc reasoning to me.

Again, I think this is uncharitable. Moreover, post hoc reasoning isn't necessarily bad. Any definition of knowledge for example should exclude fortune-telling and include deduction. As long as there is some general principle which works well, I don't really think you can have a complaint here. To doubt the general principle, you'd have to provide an argument (or scenario) for the FLO account being intuitively defective.

Trying to figure out these sorts of normative questions usually means starting from AGREEABLE premises, not ones where the very thing we're disagreeing about is the thing the other side would like me to assume.

That's right and that's the point. We AGREE (at least hopefully) that murdering infants, adults, lovestruck teens and coma guy is wrong. We then have to provide a general account which satisfies these agreed intuitions. After we've done that, we can apply this general principle to controversial case (the unborn). It just so happens that the FLO account (arguably) is the best general account and that it in turn judges abortion as impermissible.

In the first place, that means that statistically speaking, millions of homicides happen each year--not just in terms of abortion, but in terms of the way the reproduction system works.

I'm not sure I understand you here.

A great many fertilized eggs fail to implant. A good number of implanted eggs fail to thrive.

Marquis actually allows for FLO not be a factor until the possibility of twinning is removed (which is around 2 weeks, I think). Even still, the loss of a fertilised egg would be a moral wrong assuming there is a blameworthy agent involved. I don't really see this as a big problem, especially when we get to the violations of our intuitions in the persoonhood debate.

I said "homicide" trying to find a relatively neutral term (as opposed to murder), but it wasn't really accurate, so I suppose I failed. I think the broader and more apt term would be "deaths of FLO-qualifying individuals".


It's speciesistic, to be sure--the future must be "like ours". Why? Because...because.

It justifies the notion of some lives being more "worthwhile" than others.



You misunderstand.

I would argue that a sentient Jellyfish, who can have a conversation, who is aware of himself, is a person in its own right. The FLO argument would say "Well, the jellyfish doesn't have a future LIKE OURS".

Or use a sentient alien, if you like, rather than the thought-experiment-jellyfish. The objection is the same. Because its future is so fundamentally different than ours, it is therefore not to be considered--and that's just utterly absurd to me. I value consciousness, an argument abortion foes lose quite clearly in the early stages and which only becomes muddy later on.

I think you're taking the Future-LIKE-OURS too literally (which is probably the fault of Marquis. He means a future of value more generally.I think Marquis actually makes the point about the alien in his paper. An alien would have a FLO, because it would have a valuable future. The Jellyfish (assuming you mean some sort of special jellyfish) would be the same in my view. It clearly has a future of value.



I'm not arguing that all life necessarily is of equal value to a human life. But I DO argue that all sentient life is of equal value--to argue otherwise is, first of all, speciesistic, and would allow the slaughter of sentient aliens. Further, however, it opens the door to arguing that, say, the mentally handicapped don't REALLY have an FLO--and so therefore aren't worth a REAL human life. Which is monstrous, of course.

I think this is by far the most promising line of criticism thus far. The funny thing about FLO is that it seems to leave it open to offering an argument for 'lower'animals. I will admit though that it seems suggest that certain levels of sentience are of more value than others. For most people, this seems relatively straightforward. For people like you, I'm not convinced that it closes the door to holding a similar account for animals. I think you could still hold a future of value account with the belief in the equality of sentient animals.
WRT the mentally handicapped, again I think it would be fair to say it doesn't exclude them having a future of value, unless that future contains inordinate amounts of pain and suffering.

Remember, the FLO proponent doesn't have to provide a necessary account for the general wrongness of killing. Maybe there will be exceptional cases where FLO isn't relevant. If it provides sufficient grounds for the general wrongness of killing, abortion (in most cases) will still be wrong
bladerunner060
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12/27/2014 1:50:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 1:31:01 AM, unitedandy wrote:

But I think the "personhood" debate is the only viable one to have, and that arguments like FLO are mere attempts to justify a position someone already holds--one that others contest.

That's a really uncharitable way to view the argument. Why believe that the FLO proponent is any more contriving a defence of their position, than, say, the pro-choice person arguing from personhood? For my on part, I'm struggling to see what predispositions I'm trying to satisfy, being a secular progressive and all. Hardly a prime candidate for having pro-life predispositions.

Oh, I'm not talking about people who may accept the argument. I'm more talking about its original presentation. It was wholly created specifically to make abortion wrong. That seems a disingenuous origin.

I certainly don't impugn YOUR motives whatsoever.

Second, it's irrelevant. Whatever the motives, the argument is sound or not independently, so . .

That's only partially true. Some arguments may seem sound, or at least difficult to contest, but are still not honest arguments. The Ontological argument for God, for example--not the modal one, the original one.

I agree that personhood is obviously an integral part of the debate (and the infant objection is perhaps the strongest reason to be against abortion, in my view), but the point is whatever one's beliefs about personhood, the FLO account leaves it open.

The problem is, to me, that it's ONLY used in regards to abortion. Personhood is relevant in ANY discussion about rights and life. FLO...isn't.

Does Data have a FLO?

http://en.memory-alpha.org...

The problem of evil only applies to the God question, or an equivalent one. The notion of "FLO" applies rather universally...in theory. In practice, it's only applied to the abortion debate.

Like I hinted at, it could also be used in the euthanasia discussion for example. But even if not, why think this to be a problem?

Because if its proponents actually held that it was of general applicability, I'd expect them to actually argue that, yet I've never seen FLO outside of abortion debates. Certainly, it may be a perspective issue. But if someone's Libertarian only when it's time to pay taxes...

Second, it seems to be exactly the same kind of project as exists in normative ethics (i.e. what makes killing generally wrong applies in loads of ethical contexts and is intimately bound with THE normative question, "what makes anything wrong?)".

I would say that it fails in this regard so utterly as to not be worthwhile...but of course I would, since I think it's nonsense. Obviously, you don't--and I'd be happy to have you show me where I'm wrong, if you're okay with me attempting to do the opposite.

So you doubt the normative ethics project? Fair enough, but the projects (even if both are misguided) seem relatively similar.

Perhaps I misunderstood you? I was saying that I don't think it a good argument, and thus not a particularly useful argument, in normative discussion--obviously, you disagree. Were you talking of something more specific?

I guess I just don't see this as a worry at all. In fact, that it begins with a definition of general wrongness and becomes more specific to weed out problem cases seems to me exactly the kind of activity philosophers of science (demarcation) or epistemologists (what is knowledge) do all the time. So, this is a very strange criticism.

I think I see where you're coming from.

But I see it as that they're working backwards: They WANT to justify aboriton as wrong, and so therefore come up with "FLO", since religious arguments are non<x>starters and they lose the personhood debate. It feels fundamentally dishonest. Unlike a generally agreeable premise, like "Murder is wrong", this begs the question and assumes abortion is wrong, then goes ahead and finds a reason to say so. It feels like post hoc reasoning to me.

Again, I think this is uncharitable. Moreover, post hoc reasoning isn't necessarily bad. Any definition of knowledge for example should exclude fortune-telling and include deduction. As long as there is some general principle which works well, I don't really think you can have a complaint here. To doubt the general principle, you'd have to provide an argument (or scenario) for the FLO account being intuitively defective.

Fortune-telling would be excluded because it doesn't actually work, though...

I reject the premise of the FLO, that the FLO is a value to take into consideration in the manner presented.

It's speciesistic, to be sure--the future must be "like ours". Why? Because...because.

It justifies the notion of some lives being more "worthwhile" than others.



You misunderstand.

I would argue that a sentient Jellyfish, who can have a conversation, who is aware of himself, is a person in its own right. The FLO argument would say "Well, the jellyfish doesn't have a future LIKE OURS".

Or use a sentient alien, if you like, rather than the thought-experiment-jellyfish. The objection is the same. Because its future is so fundamentally different than ours, it is therefore not to be considered--and that's just utterly absurd to me. I value consciousness, an argument abortion foes lose quite clearly in the early stages and which only becomes muddy later on.

I think you're taking the Future-LIKE-OURS too literally (which is probably the fault of Marquis. He means a future of value more generally.I think Marquis actually makes the point about the alien in his paper. An alien would have a FLO, because it would have a valuable future. The Jellyfish (assuming you mean some sort of special jellyfish) would be the same in my view. It clearly has a future of value.

Who gets to determine value, though? What are the grounds? "Like ours" implies that it must be like ours. Sentience (personhood) is an actual applicable criteria.

I'm not arguing that all life necessarily is of equal value to a human life. But I DO argue that all sentient life is of equal value--to argue otherwise is, first of all, speciesistic, and would allow the slaughter of sentient aliens. Further, however, it opens the door to arguing that, say, the mentally handicapped don't REALLY have an FLO--and so therefore aren't worth a REAL human life. Which is monstrous, of course.

I think this is by far the most promising line of criticism thus far...

Remember, the FLO proponent doesn't have to provide a necessary account for the general wrongness of killing. Maybe there will be exceptional cases where FLO isn't relevant. If it provides sufficient grounds for the general wrongness of killing, abortion (in most cases) will still be wrong

But any arbitrary criteria can be chosen. FLO suffers from seeming to be arbitrary in a way that personhood does not. Personhood is either present or not--it's a binary, albeit with a grey area. FLO puts a value judgement on a life--and that opens the door to drawing that line wherever the FLO proponent sees fit to. You draw it very inclusively, because you aren't a terrible person. But a terrible person could use the FLO and argue that the mentally handicapped don't have the kind of value-future necessary to consider them as valuable. You can't just say suffering--because lots of things suffer, and it's not intended to be that sweeping. So where is the line drawn? It appears to be drawn wherever the proponent likes. Now, the personhood argument could, in theory, be abused in the same way, but unlike a value judgement, it's the application of criteria to an existent thing.
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bladerunner060
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12/27/2014 1:57:25 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
As I said before, I think the identity objection is the strongest.

Marquis wants a single identity--that of the fetus--that's how he argues against the sperm having a FLO, or the egg, even though they're only a step down on the development chain from the zygote. But he bases the "identity" of the fetus of what appears to be purely genetics. That's an absurdity. The zygote is not the same entity as the baby, because the baby is sapient. Our "self" is our consciousness. Remove my consciousness from my body and leave it a husk, and put my consciousness in a robot, and killing that body is NOT murdering me, because "I" am not there. The person that will exist doesn't exist yet.

Of course, there's also the bodily autonomy argument, because Marquis argues in favor of welfare rights, but that's a horse of a different color.
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unitedandy
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12/27/2014 6:16:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago

Oh, I'm not talking about people who may accept the argument. I'm more talking about its original presentation. It was wholly created specifically to make abortion wrong. That seems a disingenuous origin.

I certainly don't impugn YOUR motives whatsoever.

Again, I don't see any reason given to believe that to be the case. Marquis (the author of FLO) is pretty hard to indict on this charge as well. His position on the infanticide objection is far less entrenched than most people (probably even most Pro-Choice people). It is certainly much, much weaker than we would expect if he wanted to smuggle abortion in from the start.


That's only partially true. Some arguments may seem sound, or at least difficult to contest, but are still not honest arguments. The Ontological argument for God, for example--not the modal one, the original one.

Well, the original OA fails because of factors relevant to the argument. One can raise significant difficulties without impugning the source. Moreover, to do so commits both the genetic fallacy and be an ad hominem.



The problem is, to me, that it's ONLY used in regards to abortion. Personhood is relevant in ANY discussion about rights and life. FLO...isn't.

Again, this seems irrelevant. Not only that, but I've already shown that one could discuss euthanasia using FLO. Or killing generally. I'd certainly be open to using it in these areas. That its use hasn't caught on might be because philosophers simply treat abortion as a settled issue and aren't aware of FLO. At any rate, the argument stands or falls on its use in the context of abortion (or at the very most, its potential use in other contexts). It clearly can be defended in such contexts, however plausible you view this defence. Nothing demands that FLO be specific to abortion, even if this were somehow a problem.

Does Data have a FLO?

http://en.memory-alpha.org...

No, as it can't value its future







Perhaps I misunderstood you? I was saying that I don't think it a good argument, and thus not a particularly useful argument, in normative discussion--obviously, you disagree. Were you talking of something more specific?

Surely, even if you disagree with the answer, the project of FLO (the general wrongness of killing) is an entirely relevant normative discussion?





Fortune-telling would be excluded because it doesn't actually work, though...

Sure, and cases in FLO are similarly used to toss out bad candidates for the general wrongness of killing (any general principle that held killing normal adults was permissible would clearly be wrong, all else being equal, for example).

I reject the premise of the FLO, that the FLO is a value to take into consideration in the manner presented.

It's speciesistic, to be sure--the future must be "like ours". Why? Because...because.

It justifies the notion of some lives being more "worthwhile" than others.



You misunderstand.

I would argue that a sentient Jellyfish, who can have a conversation, who is aware of himself, is a person in its own right. The FLO argument would say "Well, the jellyfish doesn't have a future LIKE OURS".

Or use a sentient alien, if you like, rather than the thought-experiment-jellyfish. The objection is the same. Because its future is so fundamentally different than ours, it is therefore not to be considered--and that's just utterly absurd to me. I value consciousness, an argument abortion foes lose quite clearly in the early stages and which only becomes muddy later on.

I think you're taking the Future-LIKE-OURS too literally (which is probably the fault of Marquis. He means a future of value more generally.I think Marquis actually makes the point about the alien in his paper. An alien would have a FLO, because it would have a valuable future. The Jellyfish (assuming you mean some sort of special jellyfish) would be the same in my view. It clearly has a future of value.

Who gets to determine value, though? What are the grounds? "Like ours" implies that it must be like ours. Sentience (personhood) is an actual applicable criteria.

Well, that's a controversial question, but it's easily avoided most of the time. As long as we agree that cases like the Jellyfish or the sentient alien would have a FLO, our criterion simply doesn't matter. To use your example from another forum, if you (a hypothetical deontologist) and I (a hypothetical utilitarian) agree that torturing babies for fun is morally wrong, we need not discuss or debate our normarive framework (criteria) for moral wrongness to accept we both believe he moral wrongness of harming infants. So to with FLO. I

I'm not arguing that all life necessarily is of equal value to a human life. But I DO argue that all sentient life is of equal value--to argue otherwise is, first of all, speciesistic, and would allow the slaughter of sentient aliens. Further, however, it opens the door to arguing that, say, the mentally handicapped don't REALLY have an FLO--and so therefore aren't worth a REAL human life. Which is monstrous, of course.

I think this is by far the most promising line of criticism thus far...

Remember, the FLO proponent doesn't have to provide a necessary account for the general wrongness of killing. Maybe there will be exceptional cases where FLO isn't relevant. If it provides sufficient grounds for the general wrongness of killing, abortion (in most cases) will still be wrong

But any arbitrary criteria can be chosen. FLO suffers from seeming to be arbitrary in a way that personhood does not. Personhood is either present or not--it's a binary, albeit with a grey area. FLO puts a value judgement on a life--and that opens the door to drawing that line wherever the FLO proponent sees fit to. You draw it very inclusively, because you aren't a terrible person. But a terrible person could use the FLO and argue that the mentally handicapped don't have the kind of value-future necessary to consider them as valuable. You can't just say suffering--because lots of things suffer, and it's not intended to be that sweeping. So where is the line drawn? It appears to be drawn wherever the proponent likes. Now, the personhood argument could, in theory, be abused in the same way, but unlike a value judgement, it's the application of criteria to an existent thing.

Any FLO account (like any personhood account) simply has to be constrained by intuitive appeal. If someone were to adopt an overly restrictive view, well that would be a great reason to reject that account. Incidentally, personhood is the same. Some concepts of personhood are overly restrictive (i.e. the infant objection). Indeed, this can be seen with respect to your own position. Almost no-one would share your sentience = personhood belief. You say that it's less open to abuse, but given the contention surrounding personhood (you at one extreme, philosophers like Jeff Mcmahon at the other), I don't buy it.

Moreover, if you read Warren on personhood (the source typically cited for personhood criteria), you find a postscript, post-hoc rationalisation why her version of personhood doesn't necessitate the permissibility of infanticide. Unlike your charge, this is an explicit, ill-concealed case of buyer's remorse.
unitedandy
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12/27/2014 6:28:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 1:57:25 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
As I said before, I think the identity objection is the strongest.

Marquis wants a single identity--that of the fetus--that's how he argues against the sperm having a FLO, or the egg, even though they're only a step down on the development chain from the zygote. But he bases the "identity" of the fetus of what appears to be purely genetics. That's an absurdity. The zygote is not the same entity as the baby, because the baby is sapient. Our "self" is our consciousness. Remove my consciousness from my body and leave it a husk, and put my consciousness in a robot, and killing that body is NOT murdering me, because "I" am not there. The person that will exist doesn't exist yet.

The egg, or sperm simply doesn't have a future of value. When speaking about our past, for example, it makes no sense to say "I was an egg" any more than it does to say that a cake used to be flour. A zygote, by contrast, certainly at the stage of development Marquis talks about, is, scientifically, part of our constitutive past as an organism.

Of course, there's also the bodily autonomy argument, because Marquis argues in favor of welfare rights, but that's a horse of a different color.

Sure, and this (in my view) is the strongest case for Pro-Choice advocates, not least because it stems from a strong intuitive position.
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12/27/2014 6:33:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 6:16:07 PM, unitedandy wrote:

Again, I don't see any reason given to believe that to be the case. Marquis (the author of FLO) is pretty hard to indict on this charge as well. His position on the infanticide objection is far less entrenched than most people (probably even most Pro-Choice people). It is certainly much, much weaker than we would expect if he wanted to smuggle abortion in from the start.

We'll have to agree to disagree given that he explicitly says "The purpose of this essay is to develop a general argument for the claim that the overwhelming majority of deliberate abortions are seriously immoral".

Well, the original OA fails because of factors relevant to the argument. One can raise significant difficulties without impugning the source. Moreover, to do so commits both the genetic fallacy and be an ad hominem.

Note that I don't dismiss the argument BECAUSE it's dishonest. I'm noting, however, that there's a difference between an argument which is bad and was presented honestly, and a bad one that was presented without reference to it.

You're right that it can be irrelevant to the truth of the point. But from my perspective, given that I believe it to be a bad argument, the relevance of its origins DOES become relevant, and is part of my "thoughts", which the OP asked for.

The problem is, to me, that it's ONLY used in regards to abortion. Personhood is relevant in ANY discussion about rights and life. FLO...isn't.

Again, this seems irrelevant. Not only that, but I've already shown that one could discuss euthanasia using FLO. Or killing generally. I'd certainly be open to using it in these areas. That its use hasn't caught on might be because philosophers simply treat abortion as a settled issue and aren't aware of FLO. At any rate, the argument stands or falls on its use in the context of abortion (or at the very most, its potential use in other contexts). It clearly can be defended in such contexts, however plausible you view this defence. Nothing demands that FLO be specific to abortion, even if this were somehow a problem.

Except that even its proponents DON'T DO THAT.

Does Data have a FLO?

http://en.memory-alpha.org...

No, as it can't value its future

You didn't click the link.

Data is an android--hence its capitalization here as a proper noun; it's his name. Unless you're calling Data "It", and saying that Data (the character, who values his future) can't value his future.

Perhaps I misunderstood you? I was saying that I don't think it a good argument, and thus not a particularly useful argument, in normative discussion--obviously, you disagree. Were you talking of something more specific?

Surely, even if you disagree with the answer, the project of FLO (the general wrongness of killing) is an entirely relevant normative discussion?

Is it a relevant mathematical discussion to argue that 2+2=5?

If one thinks that an argument is BAD, its usefulness in discussion is likely limited. Now, there ARE some bad arguments that do have value. I don't consider FLO to be one of those.

Fortune-telling would be excluded because it doesn't actually work, though...
Sure, and cases in FLO are similarly used to toss out bad candidates for the general wrongness of killing (any general principle that held killing normal adults was permissible would clearly be wrong, all else being equal, for example).

I'm saying that fortune-telling cannot be considered knowledge because, empirically, it is known to be false.

I reject the premise of the FLO, that the FLO is a value to take into consideration in the manner presented.

Well, that's a controversial question, but it's easily avoided most of the time. As long as we agree that cases like the Jellyfish or the sentient alien would have a FLO, our criterion simply doesn't matter. To use your example from another forum, if you (a hypothetical deontologist) and I (a hypothetical utilitarian) agree that torturing babies for fun is morally wrong, we need not discuss or debate our normarive framework (criteria) for moral wrongness to accept we both believe he moral wrongness of harming infants. So to with FLO. I

I wholeheartedly disagree.

If we both agree that torturing babies is morally wrong, but one is permissible under the proposed moral system, we have a problem. So asking WHY your moral system would prohibit it is precisely how we determine whether you're proposing something that's valuable.

Any FLO account (like any personhood account) simply has to be constrained by intuitive appeal. If someone were to adopt an overly restrictive view, well that would be a great reason to reject that account. Incidentally, personhood is the same. Some concepts of personhood are overly restrictive (i.e. the infant objection). Indeed, this can be seen with respect to your own position. Almost no-one would share your sentience = personhood belief. You say that it's less open to abuse, but given the contention surrounding personhood (you at one extreme, philosophers like Jeff Mcmahon at the other), I don't buy it.

Moreover, if you read Warren on personhood (the source typically cited for personhood criteria), you find a postscript, post-hoc rationalisation why her version of personhood doesn't necessitate the permissibility of infanticide. Unlike your charge, this is an explicit, ill-concealed case of buyer's remorse.

I find this criticism a bit unfair given that, above, my point regarding Marquis and the origins of this idea is dismissed. So I will likewise dismiss the "buyer's remorse" point.

I'll return to my point about the lottery ticket: It's not equivalent to the theft of a winning ticket. I don't think you've addressed whether you DO think it is equivalent.

If someone HAS personhood, they have the benefits that come with personhood. If they don't, they don't. If there's a grey area, wherein we're unsure if they have personhood, then they are given the benefit of personhood. People in comas are in a grey area. Infants are in a grey area. 8 month fetuses are in a grey area. Zygotes are not.
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bladerunner060
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12/27/2014 6:39:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 6:28:42 PM, unitedandy wrote:
At 12/27/2014 1:57:25 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
As I said before, I think the identity objection is the strongest.

Marquis wants a single identity--that of the fetus--that's how he argues against the sperm having a FLO, or the egg, even though they're only a step down on the development chain from the zygote. But he bases the "identity" of the fetus of what appears to be purely genetics. That's an absurdity. The zygote is not the same entity as the baby, because the baby is sapient. Our "self" is our consciousness. Remove my consciousness from my body and leave it a husk, and put my consciousness in a robot, and killing that body is NOT murdering me, because "I" am not there. The person that will exist doesn't exist yet.

The egg, or sperm simply doesn't have a future of value. When speaking about our past, for example, it makes no sense to say "I was an egg" any more than it does to say that a cake used to be flour. A zygote, by contrast, certainly at the stage of development Marquis talks about, is, scientifically, part of our constitutive past as an organism.

That's false. At one point you were a sperm and egg--"you", the genetics that make up you, were a sperm and an egg, which ultimately combined into a single entity, that wasn't "you" any more than the separate sperm and egg were "you", because "you" didn't exist, "you" weren't instantiated.

Of course, there's also the bodily autonomy argument, because Marquis argues in favor of welfare rights, but that's a horse of a different color.

Sure, and this (in my view) is the strongest case for Pro-Choice advocates, not least because it stems from a strong intuitive position.

I think it only actually applies in cases of rape or incest. In the case of of consensual sex, the issue is that if we grant the rights of a person to the developing organism, then we have a situation where, due to the actions of the mother, the thing requires the mother to survive. It seems rather similar to me poisoning you, and having the antidote. If I poison you, and then don't give you the antidote I have, then I've killed you--because, while I had the option of saving your life, I did not exercise it, thus, my actions which resulted in your death mean that I've killed you. If you're poisoned by someone else, I am not under a similar obligation.

Similarly, if the mother chooses to end the pregnancy, her actions have placed an organism which as the right to life in a position where it needs her to survive, and if she then withholds that which is required for life she has placed it in a position where it will die.
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bladerunner060
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12/27/2014 6:42:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
And I'm noticing that it doesn't ask for our "thoughts", just to "discuss" with an emphasis on "strengths and weaknesses".

Still, I think it's part of the discussion.
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zmikecuber
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12/27/2014 10:19:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 6:39:07 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 12/27/2014 6:28:42 PM, unitedandy wrote:
At 12/27/2014 1:57:25 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
As I said before, I think the identity objection is the strongest.

Marquis wants a single identity--that of the fetus--that's how he argues against the sperm having a FLO, or the egg, even though they're only a step down on the development chain from the zygote. But he bases the "identity" of the fetus of what appears to be purely genetics. That's an absurdity. The zygote is not the same entity as the baby, because the baby is sapient. Our "self" is our consciousness. Remove my consciousness from my body and leave it a husk, and put my consciousness in a robot, and killing that body is NOT murdering me, because "I" am not there. The person that will exist doesn't exist yet.

The egg, or sperm simply doesn't have a future of value. When speaking about our past, for example, it makes no sense to say "I was an egg" any more than it does to say that a cake used to be flour. A zygote, by contrast, certainly at the stage of development Marquis talks about, is, scientifically, part of our constitutive past as an organism.

That's false. At one point you were a sperm and egg--"you", the genetics that make up you, were a sperm and an egg, which ultimately combined into a single entity, that wasn't "you" any more than the separate sperm and egg were "you", because "you" didn't exist, "you" weren't instantiated.


This is an absurd and implausible suggestion. If we accept any form of Aristotelian metaphysics, which seems intuitive and plausible, then it's quite obvious that under hylemorphism, "I" am not identical to merely the material or formal cause of my body, but rather a composite of both. And a sperm and egg simply do not have the same formal and material cause as I do.

Of course, there's also the bodily autonomy argument, because Marquis argues in favor of welfare rights, but that's a horse of a different color.

Sure, and this (in my view) is the strongest case for Pro-Choice advocates, not least because it stems from a strong intuitive position.

I think it only actually applies in cases of rape or incest. In the case of of consensual sex, the issue is that if we grant the rights of a person to the developing organism, then we have a situation where, due to the actions of the mother, the thing requires the mother to survive. It seems rather similar to me poisoning you, and having the antidote. If I poison you, and then don't give you the antidote I have, then I've killed you--because, while I had the option of saving your life, I did not exercise it, thus, my actions which resulted in your death mean that I've killed you. If you're poisoned by someone else, I am not under a similar obligation.

Similarly, if the mother chooses to end the pregnancy, her actions have placed an organism which as the right to life in a position where it needs her to survive, and if she then withholds that which is required for life she has placed it in a position where it will die.
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bladerunner060
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12/27/2014 11:38:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 10:19:34 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 12/27/2014 6:39:07 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 12/27/2014 6:28:42 PM, unitedandy wrote:
At 12/27/2014 1:57:25 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
As I said before, I think the identity objection is the strongest.

Marquis wants a single identity--that of the fetus--that's how he argues against the sperm having a FLO, or the egg, even though they're only a step down on the development chain from the zygote. But he bases the "identity" of the fetus of what appears to be purely genetics. That's an absurdity. The zygote is not the same entity as the baby, because the baby is sapient. Our "self" is our consciousness. Remove my consciousness from my body and leave it a husk, and put my consciousness in a robot, and killing that body is NOT murdering me, because "I" am not there. The person that will exist doesn't exist yet.

The egg, or sperm simply doesn't have a future of value. When speaking about our past, for example, it makes no sense to say "I was an egg" any more than it does to say that a cake used to be flour. A zygote, by contrast, certainly at the stage of development Marquis talks about, is, scientifically, part of our constitutive past as an organism.

That's false. At one point you were a sperm and egg--"you", the genetics that make up you, were a sperm and an egg, which ultimately combined into a single entity, that wasn't "you" any more than the separate sperm and egg were "you", because "you" didn't exist, "you" weren't instantiated.


This is an absurd and implausible suggestion. If we accept any form of Aristotelian metaphysics, which seems intuitive and plausible, then it's quite obvious that under hylemorphism, "I" am not identical to merely the material or formal cause of my body, but rather a composite of both. And a sperm and egg simply do not have the same formal and material cause as I do.

You're jumbling terms a bit. Hylomorphism is about form, not cause, so I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to say. Hylomorphism is "what", the 4 causes are "why". I recognize that the material and formal causes can be pulled into a discussion of hylomorphism--but in that discussion, you must recognize that a zygote fails the test, because it does not have the same formal cause as you do--that is, it doesn't have your form, since the form of "you" requires your mind, and without it isn't "you" any more than your corpse is "you".

(Incidentally, it's not really reasonable to say something is absurd and implausible, then base that on some assumptions YOU make, which are by no means universal, in order to support it being such, especially when you're appealing to Aristotlean forms!)

As far as can be reasonably established, a brain is a requirement for consciousness. Aristotle addressed this--using the notion of the "soul" that makes it "alive", so it's not precisely the same. IIRC, he argued that your body is not your body after you die, because it lacks the soul--similarly, your body is not your body BEFORE your consciousness inhabits it. If you're religious, of course, you can argue that a soul enters the body whenever you'd like--but such an argument won't hold much water with me.

I would take the position that "I" am my mind. As a zygote does not have a mind, it is not "me", any more than my finger is "me"--it's "mine". Yet, there is no "I" to posses the zygote, until such time as an "I" is instantiated. It is consciousness--the mind--which is what gives us rights, and why aliens who are sentient would also have rights. A thing without a mind doesn't have rights--even if eventually, someday, it might HAVE a mind, preventing it from reaching that point is NOT equivalent to extinguishing that which already exists, in the same way that not starting a fire is not equivalent to putting one out or, to return to my analogy, purchasing a ticket before someone else is to rob them of winnings.
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unitedandy
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12/28/2014 4:22:26 AM
Posted: 1 year ago

We'll have to agree to disagree given that he explicitly says "The purpose of this essay is to develop a general argument for the claim that the overwhelming majority of deliberate abortions are seriously immoral".

All Marquis is doing here is explicitly outlining his thesis - which is what everyone does (or should do when writing a philosophy paper. There's nothing to say he's being disingenuous at all. Indeed, like I said, given his position in the abortion debate (very mild with the infanticide objection, secular, etc), I think we have reason to believe this is not the case. Having seen him debate as well, he certainly isn't an ideological zealot either, so I'm not remotely convinced.
Well, the original OA fails because of factors relevant to the argument. One can raise significant difficulties without impugning the source. Moreover, to do so commits both the genetic fallacy and be an ad hominem.

Note that I don't dismiss the argument BECAUSE it's dishonest. I'm noting, however, that there's a difference between an argument which is bad and was presented honestly, and a bad one that was presented without reference to it.

Well, exactly. The argument stands or falls on its own. Even if the original intent were bad, the FLO argument (I think you'd accept has or at least could potentially) convince an impartial person with clean motives. Again, even if you think the argument is flawed, this seems to be pretty obvious.





Except that even its proponents DON'T DO THAT.

I really don't know how true this is, given I'm not really aware of bioethics debates generally, apart from abortion, or how many people use Marquis argument in defending abortion. I suspect it would be false though, given it seems to parallel with our common-sense intuitions about euthanasia (the British NHS, for example uses Quality Adjusted Life Years, which seems sort of similar in some sense, even if they don't apply this to abortion).

Does Data have a FLO?

http://en.memory-alpha.org...

No, as it can't value its future

You didn't click the link.

Data is an android--hence its capitalization here as a proper noun; it's his name. Unless you're calling Data "It", and saying that Data (the character, who values his future) can't value his future.

Oops. In which case, I see no reason why not.

Perhaps I misunderstood you? I was saying that I don't think it a good argument, and thus not a particularly useful argument, in normative discussion--obviously, you disagree. Were you talking of something more specific?

Surely, even if you disagree with the answer, the project of FLO (the general wrongness of killing) is an entirely relevant normative discussion?

Is it a relevant mathematical discussion to argue that 2+2=5?

Lawrence Krauss (believe it or not) argues this in his debate with WLC, just to tie it in with the other forum, lol. Even if you think FLO is wrong, the question (general wrongness of killing) seems to be a pretty good one. To use your example, mathematical questions are important, even if the answers happen to be wrong (which obviously I don't grant is the same with FLO).






I'm saying that fortune-telling cannot be considered knowledge because, empirically, it is known to be false.

Sure, the point is that we refine our concept of knowledge through cases like fortune-telling. No decent account of knowledge would have this as an example. FLO follows the same path - reasoning from where we agree (the general wrongness of killing adults, or love-struck teens) to contentious cases like abortion.

I reject the premise of the FLO, that the FLO is a value to take into consideration in the manner presented.



I wholeheartedly disagree.

If we both agree that torturing babies is morally wrong, but one is permissible under the proposed moral system, we have a problem. So asking WHY your moral system would prohibit it is precisely how we determine whether you're proposing something that's valuable.

Yep, but if we agree, it doesn't matter WHY we agree, for the sake of argument. Only if/when we get into contentious waters do we need to spel out this difference. For example, neither of us has laid out our epistemological framework, yet we both agree that fortune-telling is wrong (and I'd bet we differ somewhat on our approach here). In the same way, FLO cases would only matter if we had an intractable substantive disagreement about one of the examples. Peter Singer, for example might attack FLO on this basis because he believes infanticide is permissible. Then we would have to go into the details more, but until then, we can navigate the examples fairly easily.



Moreover, if you read Warren on personhood (the source typically cited for personhood criteria), you find a postscript, post-hoc rationalisation why her version of personhood doesn't necessitate the permissibility of infanticide. Unlike your charge, this is an explicit, ill-concealed case of buyer's remorse.

I find this criticism a bit unfair given that, above, my point regarding Marquis and the origins of this idea is dismissed. So I will likewise dismiss the "buyer's remorse" point.

I think the problem for you is twofold. First, in the Warren case it's abundantly clear it IS a post-hoc rationalisation (she repudiates the consequence of her view explicitly after these consequences had been pointed out (postscript) and offers a very weak reason for doing so that it easily dispensed with). Second, it is entirely relevant as it is easily the major objection to the personhood case (the infanticide problem), rather than a speculation which you yourself admit is strictly irrelevant to the truth of the argument.

I'll return to my point about the lottery ticket: It's not equivalent to the theft of a winning ticket. I don't think you've addressed whether you DO think it is equivalent.

It's not equivalent. The future of value we have isn't something we will have (like a lottery ticket) it's something we do have fetus as much as an adult. The analogy would be someone stealing your winning lottery ticket before it has been scratched.

If someone HAS personhood, they have the benefits that come with personhood. If they don't, they don't. If there's a grey area, wherein we're unsure if they have personhood, then they are given the benefit of personhood. People in comas are in a grey area. Infants are in a grey area. 8 month fetuses are in a grey area. Zygotes are not.

Sure, although like I said, this argument bypasses the personhood debate. Moreover, FLO isn't some thing one potentially has, it is a potentially valuable thing. My future isn't something with potential value, it is something I will come to value, all else being equal. If it were the former, then killing anyone wouldn't be any more wrong than wiping my sleeve (which could be potential persons, given the requisite technology).

As for babies or temp. coma patients being grey areas, I find this absurd, at least if you are mean killing them (or denying them the right to life) would be contentious issues. Taking the latter first, if we know for example that coma guy will wake up in a few days, is it really contentious at all to say person X switching his life machine off deliberately would be guilty of murder? Obviously not. As far as the infant goes, a newborn certainly has sentience (which was your previously criteria) and certainly fails Warren's personhood criteria. So if grey means getting contradictory answers, then it's a problem completely of those who are pro-choice. If you mean infanticide is a difficult or contentious issue, I'd say this is exactly why I'm on this side of the fence. For me, only at the altar of some deeply-held ideological commitment would we think killing infants is difficult to judge normatively.
unitedandy
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12/28/2014 4:37:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 6:39:07 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 12/27/2014 6:28:42 PM, unitedandy wrote:
At 12/27/2014 1:57:25 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
As I said before, I think the identity objection is the strongest.

Marquis wants a single identity--that of the fetus--that's how he argues against the sperm having a FLO, or the egg, even though they're only a step down on the development chain from the zygote. But he bases the "identity" of the fetus of what appears to be purely genetics. That's an absurdity. The zygote is not the same entity as the baby, because the baby is sapient. Our "self" is our consciousness. Remove my consciousness from my body and leave it a husk, and put my consciousness in a robot, and killing that body is NOT murdering me, because "I" am not there. The person that will exist doesn't exist yet.

The egg, or sperm simply doesn't have a future of value. When speaking about our past, for example, it makes no sense to say "I was an egg" any more than it does to say that a cake used to be flour. A zygote, by contrast, certainly at the stage of development Marquis talks about, is, scientifically, part of our constitutive past as an organism.

That's false. At one point you were a sperm and egg--"you", the genetics that make up you, were a sperm and an egg, which ultimately combined into a single entity, that wasn't "you" any more than the separate sperm and egg were "you", because "you" didn't exist, "you" weren't instantiated.

Yes, but that single entity is the beginning of biological life. In terms of biology (DNA), or our philosophical essence as a biological aorganism, it literally makes no sense to say, "I was once an egg". We obviously are brought about by these things, but so what? A cake is brought about by ingredients. These ingredients aren't themselves a cake, in any sense.

Of course, there's also the bodily autonomy argument, because Marquis argues in favor of welfare rights, but that's a horse of a different color.

Sure, and this (in my view) is the strongest case for Pro-Choice advocates, not least because it stems from a strong intuitive position.

I think it only actually applies in cases of rape or incest. In the case of of consensual sex, the issue is that if we grant the rights of a person to the developing organism, then we have a situation where, due to the actions of the mother, the thing requires the mother to survive. It seems rather similar to me poisoning you, and having the antidote. If I poison you, and then don't give you the antidote I have, then I've killed you--because, while I had the option of saving your life, I did not exercise it, thus, my actions which resulted in your death mean that I've killed you. If you're poisoned by someone else, I am not under a similar obligation.

Similarly, if the mother chooses to end the pregnancy, her actions have placed an organism which as the right to life in a position where it needs her to survive, and if she then withholds that which is required for life she has placed it in a position where it will die.

Sure, I think this undercuts the intuitive appeal. There are ways to try and get around it, but like you I'm not convinced. In the case of rape, I think it's a fair point. Rape and perhaps even more so, threats to the mother's life, raise a serious problem for those against abortion. I've no problem with saying that latter case raises a situation where abortion may even be morally required. All I'd say is that similar difficult cases exist with pro-choice views (murder of a pregnant woman, for example).
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12/28/2014 7:54:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/28/2014 4:22:26 AM, unitedandy wrote:

All Marquis is doing here is explicitly outlining his thesis

Correct. And his thesis is NOT that FLO is something of value in its own right, but that aboriton is wrong, and here's why.

I'm not necessarily against such argumentation. But given that I find the argument extremely, extremely poor, it inclines me towards thinking it was created not out of earnest thought, but out of bias.

Well, exactly. The argument stands or falls on its own. Even if the original intent were bad, the FLO argument (I think you'd accept has or at least could potentially) convince an impartial person with clean motives. Again, even if you think the argument is flawed, this seems to be pretty obvious.

Which criticism applies to the same thing you brought up regarding personhood--hence my confusion at what seems a contradiction. I would probably agree with you on the merits of your charge, but my point is for you to dismiss it when it's about your own preferred theory, while making it yourself when it's about the other "side", is contradictory.

Except that even its proponents DON'T DO THAT.

I really don't know how true this is, given I'm not really aware of bioethics debates generally, apart from abortion, or how many people use Marquis argument in defending abortion. I suspect it would be false though, given it seems to parallel with our common-sense intuitions about euthanasia (the British NHS, for example uses Quality Adjusted Life Years, which seems sort of similar in some sense, even if they don't apply this to abortion).

I would challenge you to find anywhere that FLO has been seriously used, outside the abortion debate.

A general principle should be generally applicable.

Is it a relevant mathematical discussion to argue that 2+2=5?

Lawrence Krauss (believe it or not) argues this in his debate with WLC, just to tie it in with the other forum, lol. Even if you think FLO is wrong, the question (general wrongness of killing) seems to be a pretty good one. To use your example, mathematical questions are important, even if the answers happen to be wrong (which obviously I don't grant is the same with FLO).

But I'm not talking about the general discussion--I'm talking about the value of this argument in particular. Of COURSE I concede the conversation is valid.

Largely, I think all of this is rabbitholes. Let's just discuss the merits of the argument and the surrounding philosophy.

If we both agree that torturing babies is morally wrong, but one is permissible under the proposed moral system, we have a problem. So asking WHY your moral system would prohibit it is precisely how we determine whether you're proposing something that's valuable.

Yep, but if we agree, it doesn't matter WHY we agree, for the sake of argument. Only if/when we get into contentious waters do we need to spel out this difference.

I 100% disagree. Sometimes the agreement is contentious--but without ever looking at it, you wouldn't know it. Imagine an FLO proponent and a misogynist have tea. Before they get to their points regarding their own broader philosophies, they agree that abortion is wrong. The FLO is saying it for FLO reasoning. The misogynist is saying it because he thinks women are subhuman.

For example, neither of us has laid out our epistemological framework, yet we both agree that fortune-telling is wrong (and I'd bet we differ somewhat on our approach here). In the same way, FLO cases would only matter if we had an intractable substantive disagreement about one of the examples. Peter Singer, for example might attack FLO on this basis because he believes infanticide is permissible. Then we would have to go into the details more, but until then, we can navigate the examples fairly easily.

I think the problem for you is twofold. First, in the Warren case it's abundantly clear it IS a post-hoc rationalisation (she repudiates the consequence of her view explicitly after these consequences had been pointed out (postscript) and offers a very weak reason for doing so that it easily dispensed with). Second, it is entirely relevant as it is easily the major objection to the personhood case (the infanticide problem), rather than a speculation which you yourself admit is strictly irrelevant to the truth of the argument.

I'm sorry, but I continue to disagree, and I really do think this is a rabbithole. If you reject the "bad reason for making the argument" out of hand in reference to your own argument, it's contradictory to lay the same charge against an opposing argument, regardless of whether you think the charge is stronger.

I'll return to my point about the lottery ticket: It's not equivalent to the theft of a winning ticket. I don't think you've addressed whether you DO think it is equivalent.

It's not equivalent. The future of value we have isn't something we will have (like a lottery ticket) it's something we do have fetus as much as an adult. The analogy would be someone stealing your winning lottery ticket before it has been scratched.

No. A zygote does not "have" a FLO--it is a non-sentient organism and can't "possess" anything.

If someone HAS personhood, they have the benefits that come with personhood. If they don't, they don't. If there's a grey area, wherein we're unsure if they have personhood, then they are given the benefit of personhood. People in comas are in a grey area. Infants are in a grey area. 8 month fetuses are in a grey area. Zygotes are not.

Sure, although like I said, this argument bypasses the personhood debate. Moreover, FLO isn't some thing one potentially has, it is a potentially valuable thing. My future isn't something with potential value, it is something I will come to value, all else being equal. If it were the former, then killing anyone wouldn't be any more wrong than wiping my sleeve (which could be potential persons, given the requisite technology).

As for babies or temp. coma patients being grey areas, I find this absurd, at least if you are mean killing them (or denying them the right to life) would be contentious issues. Taking the latter first, if we know for example that coma guy will wake up in a few days, is it really contentious at all to say person X switching his life machine off deliberately would be guilty of murder? Obviously not.

A coma like that is not contentious--it's unconsciousness, but not a lack of cognition. You're still thinking in a coma that you can recover from.

As far as the infant goes, a newborn certainly has sentience (which was your previously criteria) and certainly fails Warren's personhood criteria. So if grey means getting contradictory answers, then it's a problem completely of those who are pro-choice. If you mean infanticide is a difficult or contentious issue, I'd say this is exactly why I'm on this side of the fence. For me, only only at the altar of some deeply-held ideological commitment would we think killing infants is difficult to judge normatively.

I'm saying that I'm not confident enough in the sentience of, say, 1 day old infants to be CERTAIN they are sentient, but I have reasonable grounds to say it should be assumed.
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bladerunner060
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12/28/2014 7:57:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/28/2014 4:37:34 AM, unitedandy wrote:

That's false. At one point you were a sperm and egg--"you", the genetics that make up you, were a sperm and an egg, which ultimately combined into a single entity, that wasn't "you" any more than the separate sperm and egg were "you", because "you" didn't exist, "you" weren't instantiated.

Yes, but that single entity is the beginning of biological life. In terms of biology (DNA), or our philosophical essence as a biological aorganism, it literally makes no sense to say, "I was once an egg". We obviously are brought about by these things, but so what? A cake is brought about by ingredients. These ingredients aren't themselves a cake, in any sense.

And the biological ingredients do not make a person. The mind does.

Of course, there's also the bodily autonomy argument, because Marquis argues in favor of welfare rights, but that's a horse of a different color.

Sure, and this (in my view) is the strongest case for Pro-Choice advocates, not least because it stems from a strong intuitive position.

I think it only actually applies in cases of rape or incest. In the case of of consensual sex, the issue is that if we grant the rights of a person to the developing organism, then we have a situation where, due to the actions of the mother, the thing requires the mother to survive. It seems rather similar to me poisoning you, and having the antidote. If I poison you, and then don't give you the antidote I have, then I've killed you--because, while I had the option of saving your life, I did not exercise it, thus, my actions which resulted in your death mean that I've killed you. If you're poisoned by someone else, I am not under a similar obligation.

Similarly, if the mother chooses to end the pregnancy, her actions have placed an organism which as the right to life in a position where it needs her to survive, and if she then withholds that which is required for life she has placed it in a position where it will die.

Sure, I think this undercuts the intuitive appeal. There are ways to try and get around it, but like you I'm not convinced. In the case of rape, I think it's a fair point. Rape and perhaps even more so, threats to the mother's life, raise a serious problem for those against abortion. I've no problem with saying that latter case raises a situation where abortion may even be morally required. All I'd say is that similar difficult cases exist with pro-choice views (murder of a pregnant woman, for example).

I don't see the latter as difficult--there's a line of demarcation, before which the fetus is not a person, after which the fetus is a person.
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bladerunner060
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12/28/2014 7:59:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I would perhaps propose this thought experiment/analogy for discussion.

There is a computer. If it is turned on, it will become sentient (it would be an AI).
It has never been turned on.
Turning it on requires a rather large amount of power--power that I would have to pay for.

If I do not turn it on, have I done the equivalent of murder?
If I never turn it on, and instead destroy the computer, have I done the equivalent of murder?
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zmikecuber
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12/28/2014 11:48:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/27/2014 11:38:29 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 12/27/2014 10:19:34 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 12/27/2014 6:39:07 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 12/27/2014 6:28:42 PM, unitedandy wrote:
At 12/27/2014 1:57:25 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
As I said before, I think the identity objection is the strongest.

Marquis wants a single identity--that of the fetus--that's how he argues against the sperm having a FLO, or the egg, even though they're only a step down on the development chain from the zygote. But he bases the "identity" of the fetus of what appears to be purely genetics. That's an absurdity. The zygote is not the same entity as the baby, because the baby is sapient. Our "self" is our consciousness. Remove my consciousness from my body and leave it a husk, and put my consciousness in a robot, and killing that body is NOT murdering me, because "I" am not there. The person that will exist doesn't exist yet.

The egg, or sperm simply doesn't have a future of value. When speaking about our past, for example, it makes no sense to say "I was an egg" any more than it does to say that a cake used to be flour. A zygote, by contrast, certainly at the stage of development Marquis talks about, is, scientifically, part of our constitutive past as an organism.

That's false. At one point you were a sperm and egg--"you", the genetics that make up you, were a sperm and an egg, which ultimately combined into a single entity, that wasn't "you" any more than the separate sperm and egg were "you", because "you" didn't exist, "you" weren't instantiated.


This is an absurd and implausible suggestion. If we accept any form of Aristotelian metaphysics, which seems intuitive and plausible, then it's quite obvious that under hylemorphism, "I" am not identical to merely the material or formal cause of my body, but rather a composite of both. And a sperm and egg simply do not have the same formal and material cause as I do.

You're jumbling terms a bit. Hylomorphism is about form, not cause, so I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to say. Hylomorphism is "what", the 4 causes are "why". I recognize that the material and formal causes can be pulled into a discussion of hylomorphism--but in that discussion, you must recognize that a zygote fails the test, because it does not have the same formal cause as you do--that is, it doesn't have your form, since the form of "you" requires your mind, and without it isn't "you" any more than your corpse is "you".


Oh. But that would assume that consciousness is essentially all that we are... which I'm not sure I would buy exactly. And which I'm almost certain no Aristotelian would buy. "I" am not the formal cause of me. The formal cause of me is a rational creature... it's the rationality inherent to the thing which makes it a person, regardless of consciousness present or not.

(Incidentally, it's not really reasonable to say something is absurd and implausible, then base that on some assumptions YOU make, which are by no means universal, in order to support it being such, especially when you're appealing to Aristotlean forms!)

As far as can be reasonably established, a brain is a requirement for consciousness. Aristotle addressed this--using the notion of the "soul" that makes it "alive", so it's not precisely the same. IIRC, he argued that your body is not your body after you die, because it lacks the soul--similarly, your body is not your body BEFORE your consciousness inhabits it. If you're religious, of course, you can argue that a soul enters the body whenever you'd like--but such an argument won't hold much water with me.

I would take the position that "I" am my mind. As a zygote does not have a mind, it is not "me", any more than my finger is "me"--it's "mine". Yet, there is no "I" to posses the zygote, until such time as an "I" is instantiated. It is consciousness--the mind--which is what gives us rights, and why aliens who are sentient would also have rights. A thing without a mind doesn't have rights--even if eventually, someday, it might HAVE a mind, preventing it from reaching that point is NOT equivalent to extinguishing that which already exists, in the same way that not starting a fire is not equivalent to putting one out or, to return to my analogy, purchasing a ticket before someone else is to rob them of winnings.

So would infanticide be morally acceptable?
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12/28/2014 11:50:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/26/2014 2:55:45 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 12/25/2014 6:13:33 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
Discuss. Strengths/weaknesses?

I think it's greatest strength is that it sounds plausible.

But it has so many weaknesses...My own biggest problem with it is that it was an argument custom-made for the abortion debate. It's not a general principle...no one talks about FLO anywhere but in terms of the abortion debate. To me it feels like a rhetorical dodge, a way of sounding pretty, but not actually conveying something of substance.

In the first place, that means that statistically speaking, millions of homicides happen each year--not just in terms of abortion, but in terms of the way the reproduction system works.

It's speciesistic, to be sure--the future must be "like ours". Why? Because...because.

It justifies the notion of some lives being more "worthwhile" than others.

I think the identity objection is the strongest refutation. Any attempt to address it I've seen also sweeps up the nonsense extensions (sperm or egg individually, headless human).


But even in its own right, I think of this analogy:

Imagine you're in line at a store. You're going to buy a lottery ticket (one of the scratchers on a roll). Someone gets in front of you, cutting you. They ALSO buy a scratcher ticket--the same brand you were going to buy!

They win 1,000,000 on theirs. You win nothing.

Is their cutting you in line really the same as STEALING a winning ticket from you? I don't think anyone could possibly argue that--but it seems pretty directly analogous to the FLO argument, at least in the sense of "Is it really equivalent?" Yes, it would have been your "future" to buy your ticket, but...your future is not a real thing until it happens. You can, of course, argue that cutting in line IS bad--and I'd agree. You could also argue that it's WORSE because he screwed you out of your winning ticket...but I don't think you could possibly argue successfully that it's equivalent to theft.

I think this is a very good argument, but I'd say the analogy doesn't hold, since the future of the fetus derives from it's nature, while the idea of being in a line is merely a contingent and circumstantial future. I'd draw a difference between intrinsic properties and extrinsic properties; properties which derive from the thing itself, and properties which derive merely from the surroundings which impose that property upon it.
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unitedandy
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12/29/2014 2:16:53 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Correct. And his thesis is NOT that FLO is something of value in its own right, but that aboriton is wrong, and here's why.

I still don't see how this indicates anything, other than clear writing. Literally any competent philosophy article will have the same format, "Here's what I think and here's the reason I'm going to give in support of X."

Warren, for example, starts exactly the the same way, as does papers through a quick flick through of an epistemology anthology. It's just standard practise.

I'm not necessarily against such argumentation. But given that I find the argument extremely, extremely poor, it inclines me towards thinking it was created not out of earnest thought, but out of bias.

I find the personhood argument just as poor. So what? Speculating about the origin of the argument isn't really relevant.



Which criticism applies to the same thing you brought up regarding personhood--hence my confusion at what seems a contradiction. I would probably agree with you on the merits of your charge, but my point is for you to dismiss it when it's about your own preferred theory, while making it yourself when it's about the other "side", is contradictory.

There is a difference though. The personhood criteria leads to the infanticide objection, which in turn leads people like Warren to violate their own criteria. Say whatever you like about Marquis, but he doesn't post-hoc violate his own principle. Moreover, it's a bit rich to accuse Marquis of post-hoc rationalisation (based on pure speculation), when we have good reason to think Warren's position is contrived.

Except that even its proponents DON'T DO THAT.



I would challenge you to find anywhere that FLO has been seriously used, outside the abortion debate.

Well, I just did. QALYs are very similar and are used as a practical measure to determine healthcare. The general wrongness of killing principle would be used in things like capital punishment, euthanasia, just war and so on. It might not be named "FLO", but it's a similar idea.

A general principle should be generally applicable.

Is it a relevant mathematical discussion to argue that 2+2=5?



But I'm not talking about the general discussion--I'm talking about the value of this argument in particular. Of COURSE I concede the conversation is valid.

Well, this just begs the question (assuming FLO to be not just false, but clearly so).

Largely, I think all of this is rabbitholes. Let's just discuss the merits of the argument and the surrounding philosophy.

If we both agree that torturing babies is morally wrong, but one is permissible under the proposed moral system, we have a problem. So asking WHY your moral system would prohibit it is precisely how we determine whether you're proposing something that's valuable.

Yep, but if we agree, it doesn't matter WHY we agree, for the sake of argument. Only if/when we get into contentious waters do we need to spel out this difference.

I 100% disagree. Sometimes the agreement is contentious--but without ever looking at it, you wouldn't know it. Imagine an FLO proponent and a misogynist have tea. Before they get to their points regarding their own broader philosophies, they agree that abortion is wrong. The FLO is saying it for FLO reasoning. The misogynist is saying it because he thinks women are subhuman.

Well, there's no point discussing abortion or anything else then. There's differences how we conceive things, how we weigh things, how we judge relevance, our philosophical baggage and so on. The atheist and the theist, for example, have no hopes of convincing each other, because they start from completely different points. I think this is obviously false. But even if it were true. I'd be happy to spell out FLO. Indeed, I have done so in debates.

For example, neither of us has laid out our epistemological framework, yet we both agree that fortune-telling is wrong (and I'd bet we differ somewhat on our approach here). In the same way, FLO cases would only matter if we had an intractable substantive disagreement about one of the examples. Peter Singer, for example might attack FLO on this basis because he believes infanticide is permissible. Then we would have to go into the details more, but until then, we can navigate the examples fairly easily.



I'm sorry, but I continue to disagree, and I really do think this is a rabbithole. If you reject the "bad reason for making the argument" out of hand in reference to your own argument, it's contradictory to lay the same charge against an opposing argument, regardless of whether you think the charge is stronger.

Well, I think I've given a pretty good case for thinking IF origins are relevant, you're in far more trouble than I am. What's contradictory is for you to make the origins charge (and continue to do so), while claiming origins don't matter somehow when it comes to your argument. Origins aren't relevant and personhood isn't impaled because of it. Personhood fails, primarily because, as Warren, Singer Tooley and other Pro-Choice philosophers realise, it justifies infanticide.

I'll return to my point about the lottery ticket: It's not equivalent to the theft of a winning ticket. I don't think you've addressed whether you DO think it is equivalent.

It's not equivalent. The future of value we have isn't something we will have (like a lottery ticket) it's something we do have fetus as much as an adult. The analogy would be someone stealing your winning lottery ticket before it has been scratched.

No. A zygote does not "have" a FLO--it is a non-sentient organism and can't "possess" anything.

Sure, it can. It can posses biological qualities, just as much as my non-thinking arm can. It can also possess metaphysical qualities (just as anything that exists does).



As for babies or temp. coma patients being grey areas, I find this absurd, at least if you are mean killing them (or denying them the right to life) would be contentious issues. Taking the latter first, if we know for example that coma guy will wake up in a few days, is it really contentious at all to say person X switching his life machine off deliberately would be guilty of murder? Obviously not.

A coma like that is not contentious--it's unconsciousness, but not a lack of cognition. You're still thinking in a coma that you can recover from.

Sure, temp. comas is what I've said all along. The question would be, why would it be wrong to kill them?

As far as the infant goes, a newborn certainly has sentience (which was your previously criteria) and certainly fails Warren's personhood criteria. So if grey means getting contradictory answers, then it's a problem completely of those who are pro-choice. If you mean infanticide is a difficult or contentious issue, I'd say this is exactly why I'm on this side of the fence. For me, only only at the altar of some deeply-held ideological commitment would we think killing infants is difficult to judge normatively.

I'm saying that I'm not confident enough in the sentience of, say, 1 day old infants to be CERTAIN they are sentient, but I have reasonable grounds to say it should be assumed.

Sure, so you can't have a principled argument against infanticide. It's merely a pragmatic reason you have for not allowing it ("for all you know" type). In terms of Warren's criteria (things like reasoning ability and so on), a 1 day old infant would most certainly fail such a test.

So, 2 questions,

If we were to find out sentience occurs only after a month, say, would infanticide be permissible, regarding a newborn?

Do you know for CERTAIN (which was your standard remember), that a fetus lacks sentience when it begins to emit brain waves?
bladerunner060
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12/29/2014 10:00:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/28/2014 11:48:14 PM, zmikecuber wrote:

Oh. But that would assume that consciousness is essentially all that we are... which I'm not sure I would buy exactly. And which I'm almost certain no Aristotelian would buy. "I" am not the formal cause of me. The formal cause of me is a rational creature... it's the rationality inherent to the thing which makes it a person, regardless of consciousness present or not.

For the rationality to be inherent, it must be present, in order to say it's the same, is the point.

And further, to be honest, it's the only part which is necessary to make you, you. Lose a finger? Still you. You can lose any individual part of yourself and still be you. Put a new mind in you, though, and you aren't you any more.

So would infanticide be morally acceptable?

No, because infants are sapient. I had to refresh myself on some neurology, however, the brain becomes complex and active enough to support consciousness at around the 23rd week-ish.
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bladerunner060
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12/29/2014 10:02:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/28/2014 11:50:32 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 12/26/2014 2:55:45 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 12/25/2014 6:13:33 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
Discuss. Strengths/weaknesses?

I think it's greatest strength is that it sounds plausible.

But it has so many weaknesses...My own biggest problem with it is that it was an argument custom-made for the abortion debate. It's not a general principle...no one talks about FLO anywhere but in terms of the abortion debate. To me it feels like a rhetorical dodge, a way of sounding pretty, but not actually conveying something of substance.

In the first place, that means that statistically speaking, millions of homicides happen each year--not just in terms of abortion, but in terms of the way the reproduction system works.

It's speciesistic, to be sure--the future must be "like ours". Why? Because...because.

It justifies the notion of some lives being more "worthwhile" than others.

I think the identity objection is the strongest refutation. Any attempt to address it I've seen also sweeps up the nonsense extensions (sperm or egg individually, headless human).


But even in its own right, I think of this analogy:

Imagine you're in line at a store. You're going to buy a lottery ticket (one of the scratchers on a roll). Someone gets in front of you, cutting you. They ALSO buy a scratcher ticket--the same brand you were going to buy!

They win 1,000,000 on theirs. You win nothing.

Is their cutting you in line really the same as STEALING a winning ticket from you? I don't think anyone could possibly argue that--but it seems pretty directly analogous to the FLO argument, at least in the sense of "Is it really equivalent?" Yes, it would have been your "future" to buy your ticket, but...your future is not a real thing until it happens. You can, of course, argue that cutting in line IS bad--and I'd agree. You could also argue that it's WORSE because he screwed you out of your winning ticket...but I don't think you could possibly argue successfully that it's equivalent to theft.

I think this is a very good argument, but I'd say the analogy doesn't hold, since the future of the fetus derives from it's nature, while the idea of being in a line is merely a contingent and circumstantial future.

This is actually false. The fetus without the support of the mother has no future whatsoever. Its future is contingent on the mother allowing it to remain in her body, and being willing to nourish its development.

I'd draw a difference between intrinsic properties and extrinsic properties; properties which derive from the thing itself, and properties which derive merely from the surroundings which impose that property upon it.

While that may be so, I'd again return to the fact that a fertilizeyd egg in isolation will simply not develop. It has no future. It only has a future IFF the mother supports and nourishes it.
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bladerunner060
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12/29/2014 10:37:51 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 2:16:53 AM, unitedandy wrote:

I still don't see how this indicates anything, other than clear writing. Literally any competent philosophy article will have the same format, "Here's what I think and here's the reason I'm going to give in support of X."

Which was my point. The point is NOT "I think the FLO is a valid argument, and it so happens that it means that abortion is wrong", it's "I think abortion is wrong, and I'll use FLO to justify that thought".

Warren, for example, starts exactly the the same way, as does papers through a quick flick through of an epistemology anthology. It's just standard practise.

Yes, but the difference is that the notion of "personhood" as being necessary for moral worth is a pretty standard notion.

FLO is being proposed entirely to justify the position.

But again, it's true that this is largely irrelevant to how bad the FLO argument is in its own right. It's a rabbithole--we can go back and forth on it, but clearly we won't agree. Let's move on to the FLO argument's failures, which you can try to defend if you think you can.

I find the personhood argument just as poor. So what? Speculating about the origin of the argument isn't really relevant.

I don't believe that you find personhood a poor argument. I think you don't buy it in THIS context, but more broadly of course personhood is relevant. Just as futures are generally relevant, though I think FLO redefines things such that it's not entirely the same. Folks only fault, morally, those things which are moral agents. And those things which are moral agents are persons. You don't find moral fault with rocks. You don't find moral fault with tax evaders because of their future. You don't fault someone who's violated a person's bodily autonomy by arguing about how their future is affected, because even if their future is affected, the problem is the violation of the autonomy, regardless of the recovery. Personhood IS generally relevant.

Which criticism applies to the same thing you brought up regarding personhood--hence my confusion at what seems a contradiction. I would probably agree with you on the merits of your charge, but my point is for you to dismiss it when it's about your own preferred theory, while making it yourself when it's about the other "side", is contradictory.

There is a difference though. The personhood criteria leads to the infanticide objection

I disagree.

Say whatever you like about Marquis, but he doesn't post-hoc violate his own principle. Moreover, it's a bit rich to accuse Marquis of post-hoc rationalisation (based on pure speculation), when we have good reason to think Warren's position is contrived.

The difference is that I have recognized the likely validity of your charge in general. You repudiate the value of the charge itself, conceptually, when it's applied to your preferred theory, yet make it yourself when you want to fault another theory. That's contradictory. I'm dismissing it because I'm fine with dismissing my own charge above, as I've tried to do when I say that I believe it to be a rabbithole and I'd rather discuss the specifics of the system. You, on the other hand, are being internally inconsistent with your criticism.

Now, we could spend pages and pages more arguing about whether there is or is not post hoc justification in the various theories. Part of the issue is that I don't agree with Warren, so while it's a general "camp" of similarity, I think the issues here are far simpler than they're usually made out to be.

Well, I just did. QALYs are very similar and are used as a practical measure to determine healthcare. The general wrongness of killing principle would be used in things like capital punishment, euthanasia, just war and so on. It might not be named "FLO", but it's a similar idea.

Similar =/= identical. Of course futures are factored in to decisions. My challenge was for you to find FLO arguemnts used in any kind of general setting. You have not. Where's Marquis FLO papers on other subjects?

But I'm not talking about the general discussion--I'm talking about the value of this argument in particular. Of COURSE I concede the conversation is valid.

Well, this just begs the question (assuming FLO to be not just false, but clearly so).

That's because I think it's rather clearly nonsense. You disagree, and that's fine. But if you want to convince me that 2+2=5, you'll have to do better than accusing me of begging the question--you'll have to give me grounds (other than your repeated assertion) that it has any value.

To repeat:

Largely, I think all of this is rabbitholes. Let's just discuss the merits of the argument and the surrounding philosophy.

I 100% disagree. Sometimes the agreement is contentious--but without ever looking at it, you wouldn't know it. Imagine an FLO proponent and a misogynist have tea. Before they get to their points regarding their own broader philosophies, they agree that abortion is wrong. The FLO is saying it for FLO reasoning. The misogynist is saying it because he thinks women are subhuman.

Well, there's no point discussing abortion or anything else then. There's differences how we conceive things, how we weigh things, how we judge relevance, our philosophical baggage and so on. The atheist and the theist, for example, have no hopes of convincing each other, because they start from completely different points. I think this is obviously false. But even if it were true. I'd be happy to spell out FLO. Indeed, I have done so in debates.

This makes no sense. You're saying there's no value in discussing things about which we agree on the end, that the process of how e got there is irrelevant. I disagree--I think the process is perfectly relevant. And you're saying that, because I think the process is relevant, it's therefore pointless to discuss anything? That seems rather absurd. While I do think that sometimes it's fine to move past the agreements to get to the contentions, I think sometimes it's valuable to look at those as well. Hence me saying "sometimes".

Well, I think I've given a pretty good case for thinking IF origins are relevant, you're in far more trouble than I am.

Doesn't change YOUR contradictory line of discussion. You wanted it dismissed out of hand...THEN argued that "well, and yours is worse". That's contradictory and as presented seemed rather disingenuous. You didn't present it as "And anyways IF origins are relevant...", you presented it as "You should ignore origins here in regards to the thing I support. Now let me outline how the origins of this other argument are bad".

What's contradictory is for you to make the origins charge (and continue to do so), while claiming origins don't matter somehow when it comes to your argument.

This rather seems as though you're just making a strawman. I've never said that. What I've said is that I'm holding you to your own argument. While I contended with your defenses, I have conceeded from the beginning that what's important is the arguments, and asked that we move on to them. I have said that I find value in noting that this whole thing was thought up by Marquis specifically for us in abortion (as opposed to personhood, which in the context of moral relevance has been around for rather a long time). However, you rejected that value--and then simultaneously made that argument regarding the personhood point, and I've not supported any specific pro-choice philosopher or formulation of personhood. I can concede your arguments about THEIR arguments wholesale, because I don't really agree with any of them AFAIK, in the particulars of their cases. (I'm reminded of Thomson's violinist analogy, which I think had MAJOR problems).
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