Argument with a confused friend.

This may be a departure from my usual style, but I was arguing with a friend and it got pretty heated, and suffice it to say we are both very competative. So… I told him I could bring up the argument on this site to see what yall think… Know that this argument is within the context of arguing about morality or ethics. I as always was being the amoralist arguing for the arbitrary nature of morality, he was arguing for morality. Here it is:

This is the kid Josh’s statement: “2 people, exactly the same in every possible way, are put onto this planet by no choice of theirs, however it is they got put there. Knowing only their similarities and not of any of their actions, having only this knowledge about them, that they are as much the same as any two people can be, it is arbitrary to say that either one deserves more pleasure than the other. Thus, they both deserve equal opertunities for pleasure.”

Bassicly, if I may interpret, and Josh will be observing and chiming in either through me or he will join himself, I think Josh is supporting the statement that these two people deserve equal opertunities for pleasure because it would be arbitrary to say otherwise.

My objection is that it is just as arbitrary to say they deserve equal opertunities for pleasure. And being able to say that two possibilities of a problem are arbitrary is no support at all for the third. The third possibility has to have support for itself. What I mean is that there are three possibilities here, actually four, but we didn’t consider the fourth even though its my stand on it: 1. One deserves more opertunity for pleasure. 2. The other deserves more oppertunity for pleasure. 3. They deserve even. 4. The idea of “deserving” pre-supposes morality so he is commiting a circullar argument

So the questions are these:

Does the fact that these two people are so close to equal somehow mean that they deserve equal opertunities for pleasure?

Does the fact that its arbitrary to say one deserves more than the other lend support to saying that they deserve equal?

Do the concepts of “deserving” or “rights” pre-suppose a morality?

I would apreciate any input.

R.T.,

these two people deserve equal opertunities for pleasure because it would be arbitrary to say otherwise.

Perhaps I am verging toward #4, but what in the hell does “deserve opportunity for pleasure” mean?

Dunamis

Hello

Why are you basing it on pleasure? I look from the view of pain and suffering. They should use equal consideration of interest and always do what gives out the least amount of pain and suffing insead of what gives the most pleasure.

EZ$

“what in the hell does “deserve opportunity for pleasure” mean?”

Josh says: “If there is anything to offer these two people, they deserve equal consideration to recieve it. Or that if these two people have the right to recieve anything then they should have equal consideration for recieving it.”

He also says: “Think about Peter Singer’s argument for extending rights to animals.”

Maybe you know him?

“They should use equal consideration of interest and always do what gives out the least amount of pain and suffing insead of what gives the most pleasure.”

The question is why easy? What makes you say that? What support do you have for suggesting that they should have this equal consideration of interest?

Russian Tank,

“If there is anything to offer these two people, they deserve equal consideration to recieve it. Or that if these two people have the right to recieve anything then they should have equal consideration for recieving it.”

I still don’t understand the use of the word “deserve”. Let me ask, if what is universally “deserved” is violated, what happens?

Dunamis

R.T.,

Or let me ask it this way. Teleport these two people onto a planet where they are the only two lifeforms - and tons of protein bars, water and atmosphere. What does “deserve” mean there? What happens if what is “deserved” is violated on Mars?

Dunamis

written by josh: so when asking this question, you are allowing that the two people do deserve equal consideration of their rights… what you are asking is what the consequences of violating this equal consideration of rights would be, correct? there are no consequences for violating what might be thought to be a moral absolute… there is no consequence for murder, which is most commonly thought as wrong, in a moral sense, only in a legal sense, and i’m sure you agree that morality and legality dont relate, laws are just an attempt to enforce morality, and a bad one if you ask me. so there are no consequences for violating this equal consideration as long as there are no laws that prohibit a violation. But just because there are no consequences, doesn’t mean that it isn’t wrong to do so.

Written by Tank: Go easy on him Dunamis, ive been trying to convince him to join this site for a while now, and I wouldn’t want you to scare him away :smiley:

P.s. this is a response to the first question, Josh will work on the second and get back to us…

R.T.,

Josh, you should join the site (just don’t make Josh your screenname - maybe a nice anti-tank name like “Javelin” would be good). :slight_smile:

But just because there are no consequences, doesn’t mean that it isn’t wrong to do so.

When you say that there are no consequences. I would include among consequences, any effect, any change at all. If a distinction whose absence produces no change, no effect whatsoever, the distinction would be meaningless.

If I said of these people that “they both “shlemhelmik” pleasure equally”, and you asked me what “shlemhelmik” meant, I would have to explain the nature of the concept. If violating “shlemhelmik” had absolutely no effect in any way, you would probably say to me that I am speaking nonsense.

Rather it seems that you do imagine that there is a consequence, however vague, of violating “deserved”, something that has to do with your sense “it is wrong to do”, but until you make that clear, to say that they deserve pleasure equally, is meaningless.

Dunamis

Here, Josh acknowledged the ontological Mitsein, or “we-ness,” that reaches over and disqualifies any epistemological attempt to establish ethics by practical application; through logical coherency. This is to say that the initial equality of Being, as each individual arrives into existence without owing or in debt to another, precludes any right of one individual over another, and they are contiguous together in their initial setting of being-there. Thrown-ness, as Heidegger put it, is the ontological bonding of human beings. The first condition of ethics.

The key factor in this equalizing situation if the fact that there was no choice in being-here, and as such, in “not being consulted first,” as Kierkegaard put it, human beings have equilateral rights in freedom. What is therefore “deserved” is common to all human beings because by coming into existence one owes nothing together, as the Mitsein, and neither can they create a debt among them.

This is absolutely correct, and I’m quite impressed. He has hit upon a crucial element that distinguishes between the contingency of action and the neccessity of similarity, which is in conjunction with his first quote above. What is “similiar” is the initial setting of being-there, and the acknowledgement of this, first, nullifies the secondary contingencies of action. This means that they are equal in Being, but not necessarily equal in acting, as that comes after the fact of first existing. Following this, action does not determine what is deserved, nor does it generate “rights,” as these are established among beings who are already existing.

Another point to be made is this. There can be no pleasure denied to one being without the interference of another. There is no way to prevent the attainment of pleasure in a moral setting without such interference, unless of course one fails themself in attaining it in the case of being alone and incapable. If the Other is present, the concept of “deserve” takes form and the ontological structures are shortsighted, causing the breakdown of the Mitsein; there happens competition and a restructuring of the initial being-with through the ramifications of adversity and utility. Here we enter Sartre’s terrain of being-for-the-other and through the competitive element there is no longer the “we.”

Yes and no. The concepts are created in morality which is a derivative of the original equality in thrown-ness, thus forming the ontological “we,” and through human affairs, after that fact, they take form practically by the objectifying of the Other. The moment I prescribe what one deserves or what one has a right to, I anihilate their freedom from debt and obligate them to a situation of my expectancy. The Other becomes an object for me.

There is absolutely no basis on which I can claim to have more rights than the Other, outside of my objectification of them against me in adversity, which is not the initial setting of the Mitsein.

A proper ethics must somehow configure itself around this formality and prevent the breakdown of being-with into being-for.

I do not yet have a plan for that. It is a gargantuan project.

Josh writes: the fact that there is no consequence doesnt make it nonsense. the only way that morals could have consequences is if god or someone were to enforce the consequences. But there are no enforcers only agents capable of identifying the morals themselves, and whether or not those agents should enforce consequences upon those who violate is up to them, but any action they take would also be actions of which the moral status would have to be determined.
to answer the question you posed about the two agents on a different planet with equal snack bars or whatever, this is what i mean by equal consideration of thier rights to have these things: they should have equal opportunity to obtain these things. the only thing that could disrupt this equal opportunity is one of the agents working against the other, anything else would just be shit luck for one of the agents. So it would be wrong for one to break a leg of the other in order to obtain these things, but if one broke her/his leg by chance than its not a violation

Josh,

the fact that there is no consequence doesnt make it nonsense. the only way that morals could have consequences is if god or someone were to enforce the consequences.

This is untrue of course. If you were raised to feel guilty about certain actions, no one has to enforce the consequence of guilt you would have, a consequence which would be real. Some also have argued that “wrong” actions erode society, and the breakdown of society has real consequences that inevitably effect the individual, although no “god” or “enforcer” is necessary to bring these consequences about. Some have argued that “wrong” behavior is mentally unhealthy, a wound against oneself, and there need be no enforcer, just as there is no enforcer that cigarettes or arsenic will kill you.

Consider this variation. The two exact copies of each other are beamed to Mars, with enough food, water and atmosphere, but both are of the curious belief that there is no such thing as equally deserving pursuit of pleasure, and that whoever stands furthest East deserves to pursue pleasure more. As it happens person A is beamed further East, and immediately recognizes the fact and states as a matter of law that person B shall never stand further East than he. Which of the two “moralities” would hold,

1). that each deserves to pursue pleasure equally (which neither of them believe),

2). or the prevailing beliefs between the two and the law produced by those beliefs?

By appealing to what should person B violate A’s law and attempt to stand furthest East and take the power of the situation.

Dunamis

Very nice. :wink:

Detrop,

“There is absolutely no basis on which I can claim to have more rights than the Other”

I have yet to see why anyone has any rights what-so-ever? Like Josh, it apears you are saying that our existence somehow gives us rights… I have yet to see how this follows. Imagine you have 2 stars. Can it be said that one star deserves to last as long as the other? If one star runs into the other and one star ends up surviving while the other get obliterated in a super-nova, what is the diffirence in this situation and a human breaking another’s leg to obtain more pleasure? Why is either of these a violation of deserving and how is that deserving anything but arbitrary?

when you get down to basics, all rights come from the end of a gun…

-Imp

Dunamis and Josh are talking about entirely different concepts but using the word ‘consequence’ to cover both, which is causing the confusion.

Tank, why do you always back me into these logical corners? Can’t you just take George Michael’s advice and have a little faith? It won’t kill you…well, unless it stops you from defending your leg or remaining an atheist.

Here’s what it comes down to, kid. If I can walk up to you, grab your leg, and snap it over my knee, and you say to me:

“Thank you, you have that right. Oh how I love pain when it is afforded by another’s power. It hurts, but that can’t be bad because you have a right to break it. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Here, while you’re at it, break my arm too. It would be much appreciated.”

You remember that drug dealer I pistol whipped back in the day? He had the same approach as you, until the tables were turned, Tank.

If, and only if, you can maintain your logic while you’re leg is being broken over my knee, can you ascend onto the rank of Uberlogician. But I’d wager that the second your dendrites signal the pain, you’ll be singing a different song. Perhaps “You gotta have faith” by George Michael.

Logic is all good in theory, but in existential real-time it usually doesn’t work.

Give me your leg…I’ll show you.

Note to Relativists: switch-blade stings in one-tenth of a moment.

Every time I hear the word ‘rights’ it warns me that some are trying to gain something without earning it.
Life doesn’t offer rights. It offers opportunities to attain rights.
Life is thrust upon us and then we spend it trying to keep it. To earn it.

Nobody has the ‘right’ to be respected and nobody has the ‘right’ to exist.
They earn it in the same way a spider earns his right to exist by devouring flies.

From a more cynical perspective I would say that the entire idea concerning ‘rights’ is just another way to attain them through indirect methods by those that cannot do it directly.

And in keeping with my earlier positions I correct:

Not “equal opportunities for pleasure” but “equal opportunities to feed their needs and alleviate their suffering. Which will be felt as pleasure.”

I Couldn’t resist. :wink:

Rights only exist to the extent that other’s recognize them. There is no tangible ‘right’ in this world beyond what people bring to it. Deserving is a little less concrete. Asserting your rights and being recognized by others in their reaction to you is a significant part of what’s going on with all these people on this planet, so it’s not exactly a circular argument. What you’re calling morality does exist to a certain extent in various forms of human spirit. A lot of historians link the appearance of human rights with the rise of christian metaphysics. Now that God is dead, or fled, or has his own sitcom, however, its up to media and politics to carry that baerly smoldering torch.

Deserving doesn’t mean you’re gonna get it. It would take something like a morality for the deserving person to actually get what they deserve. It’s up to things like morality to decide what people deserve.

Dave

Hi

Equal consideration of interest gives the highest chance of equality and equal feelings. I base it off pain because every being can feel pain and reacts to pain.

EZ$