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Re: FT

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  • walto
    This isn t an area of philosophy at which I m particularly familiar or adept but.... ... The problem I see above is that the term rights is used to explain
    Message 1 of 111 , Nov 13, 2012
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      This isn't an area of philosophy at which I'm particularly familiar or adept but....

      --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "roy_langston" <roy_langston@...> wrote:
      > --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "walto" <calhorn@> wrote:
      > > --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "roy_langston" <roy_langston@> wrote:
      > >
      > > > That's where I'm coming from. We have rights -- they are characteristic of all known societies -- because our evolutionary history put them there: they enhance human reproductive success.
      > >
      > > They're akin in that way to having a large hammer, I guess.
      > More akin to having a large brain.
      > > >IMO the most likely mechanism for this enhancement is inter-society competition: societies where people have rights out-compete, defeat, and exterminate societies where they don't. The effect of the defeat and extermination of one's society on one's genes' reproductive success, even if one survives personally, is worse than personal extinction. This sets up a selection pressure favoring rights not only as a societal characteristic, but as a genetic one.
      > >
      > > Seriously, the basic problem here is that the term "rights" is used in several different ways.
      > Yes, there is an intractable equivocation problem whenever we talk of rights. IMO we need to keep at least three different senses of the word straight: the "legal" rights specified in laws, contracts, etc.; the "effective" rights society recognizes -- which, in a democracy, legal rights attempt to formalize and codify (with varying degrees of success); and "natural" rights, which are the effective rights societies would recognize if everyone knew everything they had to know about people and how rights would affect their ultimate outcomes (i.e., if we could somehow play out a simulation of evolution all the way through the endgame).

      The problem I see above is that the term "rights" is used to explain (and not actually define, unfortunately) "natural rights" "legal rights" and "effective rights." The first desideratum should be to give some sense of what is meant by a right, simpliciter. Again, I'm no expert in this matter, but maybe something like "entitlement" would do. Then, a traditional position might be something like this:

      "legal rights"--those goods to which some person or persons is provided an entitlement by some law or contract.

      "natural rights"--those goods to which some person or persons have an inalienable entitlement, just in virtue of existing as a person.

      You turn these around by defining "natural rights" in terms of what you've called "effective rights." Maybe something like this:

      "natural rights"--those goods to which participants of some particular society are claimed to be entitled based on the theory that their provision is most conducive to "beneficial human outcomes."

      It's odd to call those "natural" though, since, presumably any society might be wrong about the matter. It probably would be better to just say something like:

      "natural rights" those goods whose entitlement by society would be most conducive to beneficial human outcomes [whatever those are, exactly]

      Again, I think that would be preferable because your proposal has an epistemic element: it says they're natural just in case they're THOUGHT to be the most beneficial entitlements.

      I don't really have much problem with that way of looking at things. It moves the key questions from the "natural law" arena to the "naturally beneficial" arena. I think that's a sensible move, myself. But, of course, the questions remain terribly difficult, wherever one puts them.

      Hope that helps.


      > Additionally, I have to confess to an imprecise use of English in pursuit of brevity earlier in the thread. When I said, "health care is not a right," I did not mean that literally. Obviously, health care is the process, system, etc. whereby people get medical treatment, something entirely unlike a right. What I meant was, "health care is not one of the things to which people have a natural right." I hope that was clear.
      > > First they're said to be something we "have" pursuant to evolution, but then there's a morph into rights being something that people have depending on their society--i.e., they need to be given them.
      > I don't see a difference here. Evolution is a work in progress, so the rights people have in a given society are like their genes: most are pretty fixed, but there are also quite a few that evolution hasn't really issued a verdict on yet.
      > > In order to make any speculations of this sort sensible (never mind plausible), the first thing one has to do is to settle on a definition of "rights"--provide it, and be sure to stick with it. I highly doubt you can do this, but as you haven't actually tried, to this point, I'll give you a chance.
      > The major source of confusion is probably my definition of natural rights, given above. If you can work with it, fine. If not, I invite you to propose another that we can use. Most of what I have read on the subject from philosophers strikes me as confused and/or metaphysical. In fact, IMO almost everything philosophers said about human nature, morality, the mind, the state, etc. before Darwin was made obsolete by his discovery of humanity's origins in the heuristic process of evolution.
      > -- Roy Langston
    • Harry Pollard
      JDK, Those who survive are presumably the fittest to survive for the fittest just describes those who have survived. With regard to your last sentence –
      Message 111 of 111 , Nov 23, 2012
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        Those who survive are presumably the fittest to survive for the "fittest" just describes those who have survived.

        With regard to your last sentence – Stalin got there first.


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        On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 9:54 AM, JDKromkowski <jdkromkowski@...> wrote:

        Evolution is not really: the survival of the "fittest" It is just survival of that which survives. Evolution is a way of describing the process of how variation within a population will lead to variation eventually of species.  There are plenty of genes along for the ride which are not particularly "the fittest".  

        Yes the survival of the two apostolic lungs of Christianity (Catholics and the Eastern church) despite its massive weakness and in fact embracement of weakness of the god who becomes human and is rejected and put to death is a puzzle and crazy on its face. It drove Nietzsche crazy (well that and syphillus drove him crazy).  It also drove the communists crazy too.   Massive defense? How many tanks does the church have?


        Sent from my iPad

        On Nov 16, 2012, at 11:26 PM, "mattbieker" <agrarian.justice@...> wrote:


        --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, John David Kromkowski <jdkromkowski@...> wrote:
        > On Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM, mattbieker <agrarian.justice@...
        > > wrote:
        > >
        > > The catholic church has one real function: serving the clergy. When it
        > > was able to, it dominated a large swath of the earth in an imperial form.
        > > It can't now, so it fills out whatever niches it can; but the main thing is
        > > ensuring that members of clergy don't have to go and get real jobs.
        > >
        > Thanks for sharing this one too. I'm getting better picture of Land Cafe.
        > It really is best if we get it all out in the open. It's for the same
        > reason I won't hide my background.
        > This isn't a cocktail party, where we need to avoid the topic for
        > charitable purposes - or at least for the purposes of not interfering with
        > mutual love of beer or gin or your choice. I'd still have a beer in
        > Baltimore (once), with any of you clowns.
        > JDK

        *shrugs* Whatever one thinks of Roy's evolutionary basis for morals, I think there's fairly clearly a pseudo-evolutionary basis for ideas and institutions. Dawkins made this case in his "The Selfish Gene." Basically, ideas are duplicated, with variation, in the minds of individuals; from there, it's survival of the fittest. The conceptual equivalent to a gene being a "meme." Why do religious institutions survive despite being a load of crap that generally act as a drain on society? They're very advanced critters in the world of memes; they've evolved a whole host of defenses to offset their massive weaknesses, such as the notion that it's not polite or even acceptable to question a man's faith, or that without beliefs in these memes, we have no basis for social behavior.

        Catholicism isn't necessarily the most egregious case of this sort of memetic virus (that has to go to Scientology, don't you think?), but that's what it is, and all the bottom line of them all is the same: enrichment (both financial as well as emotional) of clergy. Still and all, its senseless and generally ad-hoc opposition to contraception, even in the light of AIDS epidemics, is horrible enough in and of itself to give me a fairly thoroughgoing distaste for it in particular, and I'd pretty much rather not see any meme I deem useful or good to be mixed up with it.

        Personally, I think one of the best parts of online discussion is that there's less tendency to hold back one's beliefs; many lament this, saying that the internet just makes everyone rude because they don't fear social repercussions, but I believe there's inherent value there, as it allows for a more rapid evolution of memes. The noise and nastiness comes with the territory, and I think people will just eventually find a new normal.

        One common Christian meme is certainly right though: hate the sin, and not the sinner. I agree, I'd have a beer with any of you. It's worth making a conscious effort not to take attacks against our beliefs too personally, because it turns out everyone tends to be wrong quite often.

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