What is a right?
November 4, 2018 at 9:00 pm #24531
If we say that the values derived from facts are “obvious”, then we are already assuming values.
Sorry Simon but you are mixing up two different things. First the axioms that ground a moral system. These are incredibly subjective and while someone may put some rational thought into it…they all remain statements which are not falsifiable. “A moral system should include absolute laws” is not a falsifiable statement. “A set of minimal rights which put individual rights is the fairest system”. That’s not falsifiable. How do we verify them? These are axioms which are used in creating a framework or system (with some moral systems this is not worked out formally but derived by custom and oral exchange). You can recognise someone inexperienced with ethics discussion, debate and theorising by their insistence that their axioms are logically true (which in theory would mean the values rationally derived from them would also be true which is ridiculous as all values are contingent upon someone and/or something). You can also recognise the worst theologists and gurus and cults by the way they assume their axioms are absolute and true (with little to no debate).
However, within a moral framework, values can be derived through evidence, observation and conclusions. If you have a human rights style moral system then to claim Mongolians don’t deserve rights goes patently against the fact that Mongolians are humans like someone from any other place. Values that include Mongolians in human rights type systems is derived from a fact. Mongolians are humans. They are included. Its the same with more complex values. For example being hard on criminals may not reach the goals of ones system of punishment (perhaps with the axioms of safety, minimal suffering and reform as opposed to revenge and retribution). If safety, minimal suffering and rehabilitation are assumed as the ethical way to deal other crime and punishment then we have decades of data to help derrive a value rationally based on evidence. No…it seems…being overly hard on criminals usually has the opposite effect (compare the US’s penal system with Scandinavia). Long sentences for victimless crimes almost always result in suffering, a potentially more dangerous citizen when released and dubiously rehabilitated.
Not all values are obviously derrived from facts as you mistated my claim. I said some values are obviously derrived from facts. Most aren’t. When you see Trump whipping up hysteria against a convoy of immigrants who should be treated as manipulative criminals bent on breaking the law and sabotaging America…you already have an example of millions of people basing a value on pure emotional outrage and some arguments can be discredited by the simplest of observations. So not all values (I’d say the overwhelming set of values in the world) are based on axioms and NOT derrived from facts. But they can be within a moral system.
What unseen has been a little sloppy with is his broad claim that values cannot be derrived from facts. And yet they are every day. He may have partially qualified that by then referring to the truth of value claims… but we still have a claim that values aren’t derrived from facts. However, the way a person derrives their values is independent of whether they are true (which we know is the case anyways). Nor does that person usually claim they are true. Most don’t care if they are true. Nor do they have to. Hence values varying widely around the world deeply regional cultural and are very personal. Otherwise a reasonably practiced philosopher would never develop new values as they’d be stuck to never accept a new one unless it were true which they know is impossible. Whether a value is true (which it cannot be) is irrelevant and instead what is important is if the system was reached through a rigorous use of reason and that the values within the system are derrived from facts and critical thinking. Unseen as well as Kant and Hume and Russell and Rawls in the past used evidence to create new values or modify old ones every single day of their lives…and I don’t recall any of them claiming they were true nor hat axiomatic assumptions are part of the ethical framework.November 5, 2018 at 4:03 am #24536
Most people, unless they are philosophers or political scientists, have likely never put much thought into weighing the relationship between rights and freedoms.
In a sense, a right is also a freedom. Rights, as generally understood, consist of a freedom to do something which is guaranteed in some way. If I have a right to order a gay wedding cake (which I wouldn’t, of course, because I’m so incredibly manly and have unbelievably huge hands) the vendor is bound to provide me with such a cake. On the other hand, look at what happened to the baker’s freedom and his rights. Or, look at it a different way: Suppose the baker is very liberal and the customer wants a cake for the KKK. He isn’t free to refuse the sale.
Rights and freedoms have a relationship which is often fraught with tension and can be paradoxical.November 5, 2018 at 8:10 am #24537
I can see how rights and responsibilities go together. In a way, to confer human rights is to fulfil the responsibility to treat someone ethically. The responsibility comes from the shared commitment to ethical group norms of fairness and respect, which also happen to be universal.
However, it is not universal to see all humans as people.November 5, 2018 at 8:11 am #24538
some values are obviously derrived from facts.
And this is an arbitrary assumption: other values could equally have been derived from those facts.November 5, 2018 at 9:40 am #24539
rights and responsibilities go together
I can see how people also have a responsibility not to abuse their rights – for example, in passing off hate speech as free speech.November 5, 2018 at 10:00 am #24540
By using the word some (quantifier) to describe the (subject) values. It by definition means that there are other values
Enthymeme – a logical argument that contains a conclusion but an implied premise
In ordinary speech we use these all the time ” its raining so I am going to take an umbrella ” it would be really tedious if I were to say ” so I don’t get wet, as I will open it, put it over my head to shield me form the rain!”
the word some and not All was used as facts have different properties for example
some facts are moral value neutral. example 1+1=2
Some facts are not ” children in the poorest section of society have a higher morbidity and mortality rate”
arbitrary OR by reason?
Definition of arbitrary (based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system).
Just on analysing the sentence you cannot logically say if ” it is by reason ” that the values are chosen or as you say ” random or arbitrary”
But just by common sense notions of values, most people hopefully have reasons for particular values.November 5, 2018 at 12:28 pm #24545
There are reasons why people choose or value certain values.
Most people value cooperative thriving. Adolf Hitler, or Isis, value(d) wholesale murder. Both sets of values are chosen for different reasons.November 5, 2018 at 5:02 pm #24547
Rights only exist when legislated by a legitimate institutional authority with the wherewithal—and even more importantly, the will—to enforce them
But we bestow and demand rights to/from each other as well, as part of being normal individuals.
In actuality, the right is held by the guarantor, not the individual claiming to have a right.
But the individual can claim the right (to thrive ethically).
You’re not describing rights in any legal or philosophical sense. You’re describing favors.November 5, 2018 at 8:24 pm #24549
You’re not describing rights in any legal or philosophical sense.
I’m giving what I think are some of the reasons for the legal and philosophical positions we take on rights.November 6, 2018 at 12:34 am #24550
some values are obviously derrived from facts.
And this is an arbitrary assumption: other values could equally have been derived from those facts.
No. That’s totally false. In some moral systems there is a logical answer to many moral problems, especially in deontological ones and consequentialism. If the frequency of agents not bringing about the conditions you find moral within a normal fromwork…based on whatever action/policy then it either IS or is NOT an effective answer. Years of data show that countries with minimal support systems and welfare systems lead to a high level of homelessness, lower health, higher child mortality right, much higher level of violence, widespread poverty and high income disparity. If you are working within a moral framework that puts the principle of human dignity, survival, individual rights as the fundamental axioms…then after studying the effects of social support…you’d have to have made an enormous error in thinking the moral thing to do is to eliminate all social programs and end welfare. I don’t know how two different people based on that evidence with no alternative…would end up with different conclusions.November 6, 2018 at 12:50 am #24551
There are reasons why people choose or value certain values. Most people value cooperative thriving. Adolf Hitler, or Isis, value(d) wholesale murder. Both sets of values are chosen for different reasons.
You’re doing it again Simon. When you say most people you really mean “within a family unit or close community” and you’re also trying to jam this whole “thriving” meme as a universal when half the world lives in countries where they mostly have to look after themselves, be very careful when walking alone, don’t answer the door to just anyone, don’t trust people right away, live day to day. Yes you probably want to cooperate in some way with your family and closest friends/neighbours etc…but cooperating with all of those around you…thats a luxury you’ll find in Western developed countries and a few developing ones with a rather fortunate set of circumstances.
There’s very little of thriving whatsoever in many places. In so many cases its being sure you have enough food for the winter or even just today that is far ahead of any thriving. Survival instinct…not some need to self-develop. Cooperating with others may help but it also may severely hinder you and cause problems. The kind of “cooperative thriving” exists either in the most primitive states of evolving-humans or in the most developed countries with wealth and individual freedoms. There is very little of that broad cooperation you talk of for most people in the enormous zone of societies that fall in the middle. Full out brutal murder is not of course at the top of the list of things they want to do or have even thought about, but that is absolutely not the case for many nightmare countries. And no, you cannot just dismiss it because those are exceptions. In the totality of human history that has been the NORM. Living through terrible conditions and mostly going nowhere with little to no self-development. If human thriving is the end-all be-all of human morality…the why has the overwealming majority of human civilisation since being recorded…show VERY LITTLE OF THAT? Murder is rampant in many places. And again you cannot just dismiss this as some unfortunate case of “human thriving gone wrong”. The question is, are these murderous instincts simply human nature realising themselves when returning to a savage lawless society or are they a toxic consequence of population-density and out of control social structures? That’s a far more interesting question than why it might be that humans sometimes cooperate.November 6, 2018 at 8:31 am #24553
a moral framework that puts the principle of human dignity, survival, individual rights as the fundamental axioms
This is assuming the values of human dignity, survival and individual rights (which assumes the values of thriving and surviving).
they mostly have to look after themselves, be very careful when walking alone, don’t answer the door to just anyone, don’t trust people right away, live day to day.
This assumes the value of thriving and surviving.
If human thriving is the end-all be-all of human morality…the why has the overwealming majority of human civilisation since being recorded…show VERY LITTLE OF THAT?
There is still a pressure to thrive/survive/reproduce, even if the result is not achieved very well. Even if someone chooses not to reproduce, they are still a sexual being, except in a few cases of asexuality.November 7, 2018 at 5:48 am #24560
Inalienable rights are a little like life after death. It’d be great if we had them but basically you can’t have them without something like a deity. And I don’t believe in deities so…November 7, 2018 at 12:23 pm #24561
Inalienable rights are a little like life after death. It’d be great if we had them but basically you can’t have them without something like a deity. And I don’t believe in deities so…
It may be even more intertwined than that… the promise of life after death is sold as the great equalizer when those denied their inalienable rights get their just rewards. It’s the perfect crime.
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