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Re: Digest Number 36

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  • Taco ?
    __ ... You arn t denying them anything. For that, you need force. ... The responsibility you speak of is a little hazy to me. This responsibility isn t a
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 12, 1999
      >Another way of putting what I wrote is to think about absolute value
      > >systems. If I believe there are moral rules which each and every one >of
      >us should follow then it seems to me that I am denying everyone's >freedom
      >of choice to believe in a different set of rules, or no rules >at all.
      You arn't denying them anything. For that, you need force.

      >However, perhaps there is a way out of this. Perhaps I can find a morality
      >of sorts in my belief that I am responsible for all my choices. In other
      >words, since I have freedom of choice then all the choices I make are my
      >choices and not someone else's, and therefore I'm the only person who did
      >the choosing. This makes me responsible.
      The "responsibility" you speak of is a little hazy to me. This
      responsibility isn't a choice, or a way of looking at things, rather, it is
      a fact of nature. This "responsibility" would be an influence on your
      behavior whether you were an existentialist or not. For example, one knows
      that if one jumps off a cliff that hitting the ground will be less than fun.
      Is this knowledge "responsibility"? How does calling it "responsiblity"
      change the decision? It seems to me that you are saying, more or less: "I am
      responsible because when I take an action, it is I that take that action."
      Well, yeah, but is there really any moral philosophy in existance that
      doesn't also take this stance. I can't think of any.

      >This leads me into a view that human relationships are the most
      > >complicated choices I make on this planet since other human beings >also
      >have freedom of choice.

      Are you certain that freedom of choice is possible, or is it more often
      the illusion of freedom and the illusion of choice? Do we have opinions or
      do the opinions have us? Did we choose them, or were we persuaded into it by
      training, society, experience, and aquaintances. True Freedom may only be
      possible when all residual opinions, worldviews, habits, facts, and theorys
      are flushed.

      In having these relationships I have to take responsibility for the fact
      that the other person has the same freedom as me - I don't have to do this
      with all the bananas I've ever met so far. Perhaps the other person feels
      the same way, or perhaps s/he chooses not to take responsibility - it's
      his/her choice.
      Again, how can one "choose" not to take responsibility for an action
      taken? It's impossible. Also, why do you have to take responsibility for the
      "fact" of another persons freedom? A little vauge.

      >Their choices may ultimately infringe my freedoms by destroying the
      > >society which gives me the freedom I have.

      ...which is also the society which threatens to remove their idiosyncratic
      freedom by existing and by defending its existance.

      >If most of the rest of the members of our society agree then we may >take
      >steps to restrict those particular freedoms. Therefore we might >impose
      >sanctions against murder, theft, rape, fraud, assault and so >forth. These
      >would not be measures brought on by a set of absolute >moral principles but
      >merely a practical response to the problem of >maintaining the freedoms of
      >all of us in the society.

      Do you think that, perhaps, measures like these have never been brought
      on my a set of absolute moral principles, but only in the guise of absolute
      moral principles? Perhaps?

      >In other words, as a society we would agree collectively to restrict >the
      >freedoms of all members of our society, including our own.
      Do societies every collectively agree? No. A majority of a society
      agrees and enforces itself upon the whole. I'm not saying that this is a
      "bad" or "good" thing, only that it is.

      >So there you have it. An existentialist morality founded on the >principle
      >of taking responsibility for our choices...

      "The principle of taking responsibility for our choices." By this you
      mean, the principle of -every choice taken by you being your choice and not
      someone elses-. That isn't a principle; that is what will always happen no
      matter what the subject believes or holds dear.

      -More later. Although, it doesn't sound like it, I generally find
      what you say clever,interesting, and more sound than not. I'm just picky, I
      Must sleep now.


      >... but perhaps I have failed to make my case. Do please let me know,
      >especially if I have been unclear on any of the points I've made.
      >Charles Vermont
      >London, England
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