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Before we can have a consistent rights theory, we have to have a consistent human nature theory.

No. That's an error in your thinking. You can have a consistent rights theory without having a consistent theory of human nature. Rights pertain only to sets of paired obligations/freedoms. To be consistent, a rights theory can't claim an obligation which contradicts a claimed freedom. Multiple varieties of sets could be consistent while containing obligations/freedoms which would be anathema to O'ists.

Ellen

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Rights pertain only to sets of paired obligations/freedoms. To be consistent, a rights theory can't claim an obligation which contradicts a claimed freedom.

My turn to say that I don't understand your vocabulary.

:)

The statement is a compressed version of what I've been saying all along: A right is a freedom the gendarmes can be called on to protect. My right X means that others are obligated to stay away at penalty of being shot (or alternate less permanently deadly curtailment of their freedom). Of course others don't have to stay away if they don't want to respect the (literal or figurative) "no trespassing" limit, but a right is the boundary at which they're required to stay away or else risk...(for short) blam!

I think that you must have some notion yourself of what a "right" means. I see that you use the term in your own writings. E.g., you speak in the first paragraph of your Freeman's Constitution of "the right to public justice." But I don't recall if you've stated your meaning. I'm finding that I'm not actually coming closer to understanding your vocabulary the more I read. I'm not getting a sense of how your views "come together," but I shall keep exploring. I read your post #398 but can't say I understood it as a total post, though I think I understood some of it.

Ellen

Edit: Adjusting the post # reference; no substantive change from the text quoted down-thread.

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Edited by Ellen Stuttle
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Michael,

What I signed on to say was something further about your statement that:

Before we can have a consistent rights theory, we have to have a consistent human nature theory.

There's never yet been a consistent theory of "human nature," which is a notoriously nebulous term in any case. Such a theory is no more required to have a consistent theory of rights than an answer to the supposed missing matter in the universe is required to do chemistry. What's required for a consistent theory of rights is that one proposed right not be contradicted by another.

It's on the issue of contradiction amongst proposed rights that I think your biggest hurdle lies. If you want X to be one person's -- say a child's -- right, then in order to have a consistent theory, you have to deal with the issue of "what that means to others," as Ethan well expressed it. Thus far, as best I can tell, you haven't recognized let alone addressed this problem. Unless it's adequately addressed, you won't end up with a consistent theory of rights irrespective of your reflections (however interesting in and of themselves) about "human nature."

Ellen

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Rights pertain only to sets of paired obligations/freedoms. To be consistent, a rights theory can't claim an obligation which contradicts a claimed freedom.

My turn to say that I don't understand your vocabulary.

The statement is a compressed version of what I've been saying all along: A right is a freedom the gendarmes can be called on to protect. My right X means that others are obligated to stay away at penalty of being shot (or alternate less permanently deadly curtailment of their freedom). Of course others don't have to stay away if they don't want to respect the (literal or figurative) "no trespassing" limit, but a right is the boundary at which they're required to stay away or else risk...(for short) blam!

I must be dense, because I don't see any 'right/obligation pair' in cops killing a trespasser. All the 'rights' are on your side because - why? And why cops? When seconds matter, the police are only minutes away. And frankly this is way too desperate and murderous to describe anything except life in Gaza or Baghdad. Cross this line and - blam!

A right to public justice means exactly the opposite. It's the right to be heard, to accuse, demand, deny, defend whatever you like in court, in writing or oral testimony. If your opponent doesn't show up when summoned to answer, he could be found in contempt. But that's a far cry from Wild West shoot 'em ups. I wonder if you've ever had any contact with the police? They are not particularly good at defending life and limb in an actual emergency.

Maybe it was an infelicity of expression and you don't mean gunplay in the streets. However, I think you did really mean to invoke and rely on the protection of the state. That's probably why we have such hard time communicating about rights. See Article V. The state you're hoping will defend you is unconstitutional, as well as being incompetent and unwilling to do what you ask.

W.

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Ethan,

I am enlightened that you know what I think. At least I know where to look when I am get in doubt and no longer know. I am relieved.

:)

I suggest you take more care of what Ethan thinks than what Michael thinks, but that is only a suggestion. In my opinion, that would be more productive on a very selfish level. But, of course, you are free to do as you please.

Michael

:no:

Michael, I don't mean to suggest that I know what you are thinking. When I say "you must think" I mean that is my conclusion based on what you have said. Of course your answer was not an answer, just a smoke screen. Now below your answer to Ellen is just that as well. You haven't answered my question, which is just asking you to define and prove what you have said on this thread. My suggestion to you is that you stop looking for the smart-ass teacher responses and start actually proving something. So far we have baseless assertions. I want to know what your theory is! Stop telling me how I've got it all wrong. Start showing me how you've got it all right. Anything else is BS obfuscating the issue. At this point I think you don't have any proof of your assertions. That will change only if you prove it. If you say that your belief is good enough for you and your not going to explain it, fine. Just don't keep telling the rest of us how wrong we are. I gave up faith ong ago.

Ethan

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Ethan,

Do you know what a differentia and a genus is?

Why don't you give me what you think rights are using that formula? And please explain what you consider to be the genus and what is the differntia. That shouldn't be too hard for an Objectivist. After all, this is pure Objectivism 101.

You keep yapping that I am not discussing theory or evidence and whatnot, and keep ignoring the theory and evidence that actually is discussed, including quotes from Rand. Sorry, but that's a hoot.

Incidentally, I have always stated that I speak in my own name. I use the Objectivist moniker merely as a point of reference, like one would with Existentialiast or Romantic, not in the sense of a card-carrying member of a movement to save the world.

Thus it is difficult for me to pile it on Rand. I always quote her words as she wrote them. I may use her epistemological structure to come to different conclusions than she did at times, but I never misrepresent what she actually wrote. And I especially avoid the "Objectivism teaches this..." approach of channeling her like the plague.

If you want to see it piled on Rand in grand style, take a look at this mess: Importance of Philosophy Dictiomary. This was done in the name of Objectivism by a self-proclaimed spokesman for Rand (which he isn't in fact).

If you want to get a good idea of the size of the mess, I have provided some good tools right here on OL, especially on this thread. But here, let me do some of your homework for you to make it real easy. Get the Lexicon (for free online) and the ITOE Study Guide by Didion. Unfortunately I have to use a Wayback Machine link for that excellent study because the site is no longer up. So here is the quote of the definitions page to make it even easier (a couple of his page numbers are wrong, but if you use the Index, you can find the term):

The following terms are those that Ayn Rand defines in the pages of ITOE. Page numbers refer to the Second Edition trade paperback. The paragraph numbers refer to the paragraph on the page in which Ayn Rand defines the term. A partial paragraph at the top of a page is considered to be paragraph 1.

abstraction - pg 10, par 2

adjective - pg 17, par 3

adverb - pg 16, par 5

axiomatic concept - pg 55, par 2

commensurable - pg 13, par 6

concept - pg 13, par 4

Conceptual Common Denominator - pg 15, par 2

conjunction - pg 17, par 3

definition - pg 40, par 1

epistemology - pg 36, par 4

existent - pg 5, par 5

extrospection - pg 29, par 3

fundamental - pg 85, par 1

grammar - pg 37, par 4

implicit - pg 57, par 3

introspection - pg 29, par 3

invalid concept - pg 49, par 5

knowledge - pg 35, par 3

language - pg 10, par 3

love - pg 34, par 4

man - pg 44, par 4

mathematics - pg 7, par 3

measurment - pg 7, par 4

number - pg 63, par 5

percept - pg 5, par 4

preposition - pg 17, par 2

Rand's Razor - pg 72, par 2

reification of the zero - pg 60, par 4

similarity - pg 13, par 5

spiritual - pg 33, par 6

unit - pg 6, par 7

word - pg 40, par 2

You can throw in OPAR if you like (use the Index), but that's Peikoff, not Rand. Still, he claims to represent Objectivism, so it is instructive.

Now, all you do is compare one against the other. Give it a try. You apparently represent that IOPD mess and find no problem at all with it. At least you frequently advocate in defense of the author. Please correct me if I am wrong.

But if you do the donkey-work, you will see that some of the things are OK in the IOPD, but some of them are really out there and are totally misrepresentative of Rand's ideas. This is from a guy who says he speaks in Rand's name and is out to save the world.

One day when I have nothing to do but piss away my time and correct the bs published by others, I will make a comparative chart of that mess and publish it. Or, who knows? Maybe that thing will get a much needed overhaul before then.

But that's what I call piling it on Rand. Not a person questioning her view of human nature and other concepts under his own name.

Michael

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Before we can have a consistent rights theory, we have to have a consistent human nature theory.

No. That's an error in your thinking. You can have a consistent rights theory without having a consistent theory of human nature.

Ellen,

Not if you use an Objectivist epistemological framework, which is what I have been using. That's what Rand meant by an integrated philosophy.

This is really basic.

Here is a quote to help (and it illustrates that business about retarded people I mentioned). From the Q&A Book, p. 4 (my emphasis in the answer):

Do severely retarded individuals have rights?

Not actual rights—not the same rights possessed by normal individuals. In effect, they have the right to be protected as perennial children. Like children, retarded people are entitled to protection because, as humans, they may improve and become partly able to stand on their own. The protection of their rights is a courtesy extended to them for being human, even if not properly formed ones. But you could not extend the actual exercise of individual rights to a retarded person, because he's unable to function rationally. Since all rights rest on human nature, a being that cannot exercise his rights cannot have full human rights.

It doesn't get much clearer than that.

(And I have a real issue with that "courtesy extended" thing.)

Michael

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Ethan,

Do you know what a differentia and a genus is?

Why don't you give me what you think rights are using that formula? And please explain what you consider to be the genus and what is the differntia. That shouldn't be too hard for an Objectivist. After all, this is pure Objectivism 101.

I'd like to know MSK's answer, too. Each of you could send your answer to me via private e-mail. I will post both after receiving both, and my own.

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Ethan,

Do you know what a differentia and a genus is?

Why don't you give me what you think rights are using that formula? And please explain what you consider to be the genus and what is the differntia. That shouldn't be too hard for an Objectivist. After all, this is pure Objectivism 101.

You keep yapping that I am not discussing theory or evidence and whatnot, and keep ignoring the theory and evidence that actually is discussed, including quotes from Rand. Sorry, but that's a hoot.

Incidentally, I have always stated that I speak in my own name. I use the Objectivist moniker merely as a point of reference, like one would with Existentialiast or Romantic, not in the sense of a card-carrying member of a movement to save the world.

Thus it is difficult for me to pile it on Rand. I always quote her words as she wrote them. I may use her epistemological structure to come to different conclusions than she did at times, but I never misrepresent what she actually wrote. And I especially avoid the "Objectivism teaches this..." approach of channeling her like the plague.

If you want to see it piled on Rand in grand style, take a look at this mess: Importance of Philosophy Dictiomary. This was done in the name of Objectivism by a self-proclaimed spokesman for Rand (which he isn't in fact).

If you want to get a good idea of the size of the mess, I have provided some good tools right here on OL, especially on this thread. But here, let me do some of your homework for you to make it real easy. Get the Lexicon (for free online) and the ITOE Study Guide by Didion. Unfortunately I have to use a Wayback Machine link for that excellent study because the site is no longer up. So here is the quote of the definitions page to make it even easier (a couple of his page numbers are wrong, but if you use the Index, you can find the term):

The following terms are those that Ayn Rand defines in the pages of ITOE. Page numbers refer to the Second Edition trade paperback. The paragraph numbers refer to the paragraph on the page in which Ayn Rand defines the term. A partial paragraph at the top of a page is considered to be paragraph 1.

abstraction - pg 10, par 2

adjective - pg 17, par 3

adverb - pg 16, par 5

axiomatic concept - pg 55, par 2

commensurable - pg 13, par 6

concept - pg 13, par 4

Conceptual Common Denominator - pg 15, par 2

conjunction - pg 17, par 3

definition - pg 40, par 1

epistemology - pg 36, par 4

existent - pg 5, par 5

extrospection - pg 29, par 3

fundamental - pg 85, par 1

grammar - pg 37, par 4

implicit - pg 57, par 3

introspection - pg 29, par 3

invalid concept - pg 49, par 5

knowledge - pg 35, par 3

language - pg 10, par 3

love - pg 34, par 4

man - pg 44, par 4

mathematics - pg 7, par 3

measurment - pg 7, par 4

number - pg 63, par 5

percept - pg 5, par 4

preposition - pg 17, par 2

Rand's Razor - pg 72, par 2

reification of the zero - pg 60, par 4

similarity - pg 13, par 5

spiritual - pg 33, par 6

unit - pg 6, par 7

word - pg 40, par 2

You can throw in OPAR if you like (use the Index), but that's Peikoff, not Rand. Still, he claims to represent Objectivism, so it is instructive.

Now, all you do is compare one against the other. Give it a try. You apparently represent that IOPD mess and find no problem at all with it. At least you frequently advocate in defense of the author. Please correct me if I am wrong.

But if you do the donkey-work, you will see that some of the things are OK in the IOPD, but some of them are really out there and are totally misrepresentative of Rand's ideas. This is from a guy who says he speaks in Rand's name and is out to save the world.

One day when I have nothing to do but piss away my time and correct the bs published by others, I will make a comparative chart of that mess and publish it. Or, who knows? Maybe that thing will get a much needed overhaul before then.

But that's what I call piling it on Rand. Not a person questioning her view of human nature and other concepts under his own name.

Michael

Again, you didn't answer the questions put to you. :rolleyes:

This "I'll show you mine of you'll show me yours" thing has become tiresome.

That and your not partiucularly veiled jabs at Joe :poke: are par for the course here. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN! THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE OZ HAS SPOKEN!

I'll keep reading occasionally to see if you actually answer the questions I and others have put to you regarding your own assertions. :logik:

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Merlin,

You don't need to go very far. Please excuse my laziness, but I will rely on the opening sentence of Individual Rights in the Lexicon (which quotes VOS):

A "right" is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context.

Genus = Moral principle

Differentia = Man's freedom of action in a social context

I have no problem with that definition qua definition of individual rights for adults. I have a real problem when it is applied to all stages of human life, as given by the rest of Rand's paragraph:

There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

An infant, by definition, does not have the capacity for "self-sustaining and self-generated action" as provided above by Rand ("which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life"). By definition, an infant would die like that. It needs to be cared for.

Thus "right to life" used like that given above is a misnomer, especially if it is to be the "only one fundamental right" of an infant. Something like "right not to be killed by violence by another human being" would be more precise, but even then, starving it to death could be considered violence.

Michael

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Ethan,

I am sorry, but you really need to read more carefully. There is a level of discourse where it is not productive. It goes like this:

A: Show me.

B: Look here.

A: You didn't show me.

B: Yes I did. Look here,.

A: You didn't show me.

B: Yes I did. Look here,.

A: You didn't show me.

B: Yes I did. Look here,.

A: You didn't show me.

B: Yes I did. Look here,.

I refuse to continue that. So until you start addressing the ideas I presented and stop this silly trying to win an argument by ignoring the ideas and repeating a false claim, I am bowing out with you. The floor is yours.

And I was not taking a veiled jab at Joe Rowlands. I was outright saying he got Objectivism wrong, like I have done on his forum to his face. I object to that because he speaks as a guru-wannabe out to save the world in the name of Objectivism. That has died down some, though, thank God. And I admit once in a while he will write something interesting. Often I see serious flaws in it, but sometimes not.

I did not mention his name because I see no reason to grant authors of serious errors undue publicity. (Once again, if you want evidence, check. You have the tools, so there is no excuse not to check.) I am saying his name now because of your double-dog dare, but I still think he should not receive very much publicity for crap like what he authored.

Michael

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A "right" is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context.

Genus = Moral principle

Differentia = Man's freedom of action in a social context

Agreed.

An infant, by definition, does not have the capacity for "self-sustaining and self-generated action" as provided above by Rand ("which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life"). By definition, an infant would die like that. It needs to be cared for.

What do you call breathing, sucking and crying? :huh:

Of course, an infant needs some help. The big questions are who is obligated to provide such care and what rational laws prescribe those obligations.

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Agreed. That is what I have been looking into. Conceptually, from the ground up.

With all this looking into, from the ground up, have you addressed rules of evidence as in #366? Have you addressed slippery slopes? For both I mean on this forum or RoR. I haven't followed all these discussions, so explicit pointers would help.

You didn't answer my question in #412. Hmm, I wonder why.

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With all this looking into, from the ground up, have you addressed rules of evidence as in #366? Have you addressed slippery slopes? For both I mean on this forum or RoR.

Merlin,

I don't understand the question. Do you mean rules of evidence as presented in Wolf's Freeman's Constitution? If so, no. I haven't gotten to the law yet.

I have stated repeatedly that I am still floundering about on the metaphysical level of the concept of rights. The underpinnings. There are no rules of evidence on that level. There is only existence, life, human nature, the referents for axiomatic concepts, things like that.

As to slippery slopes, I don't know what that means in concept formation. They way I have seen it used, it means a phrase that can be easily attrributed another meaning and misused for a purpose for which it was not intended. So have I addressed how others will possibly misuse or misrepresent my thoughts? No. I am not concerned about others right now. I am dealing with a concept.

You didn't answer my question in #412. Hmm, I wonder why.

Because I wasn't addressing you. That's why. :)

Michael

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With all this looking into, from the ground up, have you addressed rules of evidence as in #366? Have you addressed slippery slopes? For both I mean on this forum or RoR.

I don't understand the question. Do you mean rules of evidence as presented in Wolf's Freeman's Constitution? If so, no. I haven't gotten to the law yet.

No, in #366, as given in my question.

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This is Post 366.

Your link takes me to a post by Wolf numbered 365 on my monitor. I don't know why that is, but I meant the next post by me, which is 366 on my monitor. It's the same for both Firefox and IE.

Edited by Merlin Jetton
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On reading what on my computer says is Post 367, I have considered neither tort law, rules of evidence, taxation, feeding all the starving people of the world, libertarianism, not any of the other matters you covered.

I am working on man's nature right now.

For the record, for the case of the wilderness, the evidence would have to be something like a confession added to strong circumstantial evidence, like a dead body with something belonging to or identifying the adult nearby, etc. Evidence needs to be objective for use in court.

I don't see what that has to do with identifying the child's rights and adult's rights, though.

Michael

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