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stoneunhinged
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Pardon me folks, but I always tend to just make quips and jokes because I fear y'all will accuse me of arrogance and pedantry for putting on my "political philosophy" hat and entering the discussion. So with your pardon, I'll post a couple of thoughts, and please keep in mind that I don't mean to put anyone on this forum down with those thoughts.

It seems to me that few of you seem to understand the origin of the modern conception of "rights". If you go back to Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Puffendorf, et al, what you get is a concept that by its own internal logic precedes society or law. It doesn't make them right, but it does mean that once you land anywhere near legal positivism that you missed the whole point.

Think of it like this: if we do a thought experiment in which no society or government yet exists, what would human life be like? That is, by definition, "right" in the sense that is the natural (correct) position for humans to be in before they start artificially regulating human behavior. What makes Aristotle so different is his insistence that it *is* in fact natural (as opposed to artificial) to regulate human behavior. (This is, with a bit of modification, the whole point of saying man is a "political animal". He meant something like: human beings are the animals that organize their societies.)

Now, I fully understand that the term "rights" has changed meaning somewhat. But if you do people like John Locke the discredit of thinking that he failed to seem something when thinking there are rights outside of civil society, then you miss his point. And if you miss his point you can't learn from him. And if you cannot learn from the very thinkers who laid the intellectual groundwork for modern democratic societies, then you risk misunderstanding the foundations of those societies. And if you misunderstand the foundations, then you risk sounding like you don't even know what you're talking about. Which seems to be a risk many of you are taking.

Granted, the lawyers are probably familiar with all that I'm saying. Which proves they are not entirely bad people.
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On 2012-01-29 12:16, stoneunhinged wrote:

Granted, the lawyers are probably familiar with all that I'm saying. Which proves they are not entirely bad people.


Thank you for that!

I agree with all you said, but there is a large difference between the pragmatic and the philosophical. I think one of the big problems here is that we are discussing both at the same time.

Good thoughts,

Bob
Jonathan Townsend
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On 2012-01-29 11:43, mastermindreader wrote:
.... The notion of "inherent" rights is simply that. A notion without an empirical basis.


Does the cow have a right to its milk?
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mastermindreader
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On 2012-01-29 12:40, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-01-29 11:43, mastermindreader wrote:
.... The notion of "inherent" rights is simply that. A notion without an empirical basis.


Does the cow have a right to its milk?


I imagine it depends on who you ask, the cow or the dairy farmer.
critter
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Quote:
On 2012-01-29 12:26, mastermindreader wrote:
I think one of the big problems here is that we are discussing both at the same time.


HUGE problem, IMO.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
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stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On 2012-01-29 13:05, critter wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-01-29 12:26, mastermindreader wrote:
I think one of the big problems here is that we are discussing both at the same time.


HUGE problem, IMO.


Well, hey, here we have a few of us agreeing on something!
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2012-01-29 12:50, mastermindreader wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-01-29 12:40, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-01-29 11:43, mastermindreader wrote:
.... The notion of "inherent" rights is simply that. A notion without an empirical basis.


Does the cow have a right to its milk?


I imagine it depends on who you ask, the cow or the dairy farmer.


So you do go for relativist/subjective ethics and law then?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2012-01-29 12:16, stoneunhinged wrote:
once you land anywhere near legal positivism that you missed the whole point.


If by this you're referring to my reference to logical positivism, then I think you've, in turn, missed my point (though I'm sure that's more my doing than yours). Bob made reference to the concept of rights (in a context) being "meaningless," which is a somewhat ambiguous term. "Meaningless" might refer to something that literally impossible or without meaning even in theory, like a square circle; alternatively, it might refer to 'logical meaninglessness," based (as I understand it) on some sort of verifiability. Essentially, per the logical positivists, something not subject to rational proof (I agree) or debate (I disagree). For instance, if I posit that my deceased born & bred in California cat would have preferred to live in Nebraska rather than Oklahoma. There's no way even in principle to ascertain whether that's a true statement, but it nevertheless could be possible, unlike the square circle. The statement about the cat would be called "meaningless" by the logical positivists, but it's a different category of "meaninglessness" than the square circle.

Because of this dichotomy, it wasn't clear to me whether I agreed with Bob or not; I don't agree that the concept of rights without a social structure is like a square circle, but I do agree that it's meaningless like my claim about my cat - I can't PROVE that my belief is correct, but I nevertheless believe it to be a true claim Now, the forefathers of modern philosophy may have fine, internally consistent reasons for their positions; as I said above, while I agree with the logical positivists on meaninglessness re:proof, I disagree on meaningless re:debate. And I could probably find climatological and other differences between Nebraska and Oklahoma to support my claim about my cat, too.

To suggest that my position does Locke a discredit (again, if the comment was directed at me; I don't know that it was, only that it may have been. And if it was, I take no offense) is ironic in the Morrissette-ish sense of the word, because I do ascribe Truth - not mere internal consistency - to the notion of natural rights.

Unless I very badly misunderstand logical positivism, it's always relevant to the question of whether things that cannot be proven may, nevertheless, be true, if only to distinguish between different categories of meaninglessness - this things that cannot be proven, and those things that simply cannot be.
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Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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Jonathan Townsend
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On 2012-01-29 13:51, LobowolfXXX wrote:...then I think you've, in turn, missed my point (though I'm sure that's more my doing than yours). ...


Point being that concise language directed at the topic rather than the writer(s) would be optimal in advancing the dialog.
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mastermindreader
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Lobo-

To clarify, I meant "meaningless" in the sense that the existence of natural or inherent rights isn't subject to logical proof.

Jonathan-

It depends. Smile
Jonathan Townsend
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On 2012-01-29 14:03, mastermindreader wrote:
...It depends. Smile


Knowing and then being able to argue for those dependancies may be central to this dialog.

@lobo*
"different categories of meaninglessness" - that may deserve it's own literature. Smile
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stoneunhinged
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Lobo, no, I wasn't referring to your post at all. The disservice to Locke would be to claim that there cannot be "rights" outside of civil society, when his whole definition of "rights" is explicitly pre-societal. It's as if I were to write a book called, "things that won't fit in a bathtub", only to have people 400 years later arguing I was wrong because things can indeed be fit into a bathtub. That wasn't the point of my book. I don't think. I haven't written it yet. Smile

Based on our conversations in other forums, I would pretty much guess that you and I agree on these particular things. We may disagree on some details, but I think we both accept some versio of natural law.
mastermindreader
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On 2012-01-29 14:05, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-01-29 14:03, mastermindreader wrote:
...It depends. Smile


Knowing and then being able to argue for those dependancies may be central to this dialog.


But, then again, maybe not. (BTW - the Smile symbol was to indicate a relativist joke.)
tommy
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If the cat is black it would prefer to live in Oklahoma. This is ascertained from knowing how to ascertain why a black cat is black and being aware that California is sunny. Fly with the bumble fall with the rock to ascertain why black cat is black. There are ways of knowing things that are a mystery to science.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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@Bob - what decides who decides that "may"?
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mastermindreader
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On 2012-01-29 14:23, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
@Bob - what decides who decides that "may"?


Does not compute. Please translate into a comprehensible question.
critter
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Does Schrodinger's cat have the right not to be put in the *** box? Is it natural to put a cat in a box? How much wood does a woodchuck have the right to chuck? If woodchucks were about to defoliate the Earth, would we have the right to exterminate all woodchucks so that we don't suffocate? Could we put woodchucks in boxes, and would they die? Who ate my Schnitzel?
These sorts of questions are why I barely sleep.
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tommy
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What right does a whistle pig have to whistle?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2012-01-29 14:28, mastermindreader wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-01-29 14:23, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
@Bob - what decides who decides that "may"?


Does not compute. Please translate into a comprehensible question.


You replied "maybe" to a question about a choice. In reply I asked you what (principle/code/framework) puts what person (who) to make the decision that resolves the "maybe" into a yes or no resolution.
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magicfish
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Must we agree with Locke?
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