#namethetrait and "trait equalizable"

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privkeav
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Re: #namethetrait and "trait equalizable"

Post by privkeav » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:30 am

My apologies for being rude yesterday. It was uncalled for.

I can't claim to argue with any of your statements. However, you seem to be breaking my "trait" up into components, and analyzing each component individually in your attempt at refutation. This is what I'm claiming is the problem because it is not consistent with DeMorgan's Laws. You are arguing not A and not B which is logically equivalent to not (A or B). My trait is of the form A and B, therefore the refutation is insufficient.

To make this clear, suppose my trait is of the form T1 and T2. And, we represent some objects as follows:

Human: T1, T2
Pig: P1, P2

If I switch T1 to P1 in the human:

Human: P1, T2

The human loses moral value at this point as your argument claims, because T2 is insufficient for moral value. We must have both T1 and T2.

But, if we ask ourselves if T1 is sufficient for moral value, the answer is no, because both T1 and T2 are required. In this case, you might conclude that the human with P1 and T2 retains moral value. You can then also argue that T2 is insufficient for moral value (because T1 is also required). The human now has traits P1, P2, is equalized, and has retained moral value.

But, the contradiction is due to a violation of DeMorgan's Laws. Therefore, it's not necessarily indicative of a problem with the other person's reasoning.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:42 pm

privkeav wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:30 am
My apologies for being rude yesterday. It was uncalled for.
No problem, it happens. Particularly when there's no face to face connection or tone.
privkeav wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:30 am
I can't claim to argue with any of your statements. However, you seem to be breaking my "trait" up into components, and analyzing each component individually in your attempt at refutation.
The issue is that if any part of a system is undefined or logically incoherent, that has implications for the rest.
Criticizing part of your justification is an invitation to clarify or remove that component so we can have a more focused and productive conversation about the remaining component (which may be valid on its own, or in combination with another refined "trait").

But in addition:
privkeav wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:30 am
This is what I'm claiming is the problem because it is not consistent with DeMorgan's Laws. You are arguing not A and not B which is logically equivalent to not (A or B). My trait is of the form A and B, therefore the refutation is insufficient.
I think you're confusing forum practice, which is to reply in long form and anticipate the most probable response, with some iterative approach that's unfairly separating your traits.

I'm saying B is not logically coherent, so A and B is not valid. If B is outright invalid then never B in any possible context with or without any other variables means not (A and B) too.

However, I'm being charitable and trying to anticipate a possible response or alternative that's as close as it can be to your original claim.
So I say let's look at JUST A which is the easiest way to correct this (i.e. assume severability, just removing the invalid B part).
So then based on just A, I argue not A because X.

It saves the trouble of another back and forth to address that in case you might just want to remove B. So that may help narrow the possible responses to a more thorough revision of the system, and help us get to a better understanding faster.

I'm not just trying to break them apart for no reason. Of course I understand A and B, but it's not valid if B is incoherent.

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Post by privkeav » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:26 pm

Can we return to the role NTT plays in an overall argument - that of a consistency test. Because it seems that you are arguing about the validity of my reasoning, which, once again, should happen outside of NTT. So for example, suppose I give the following trait:

T = My (privkeav's) belief is that there are reasons that justify treating animals differently from humans under some circumstances

Keep in mind that you (or whoever wrote the wiki) have defined a trait so broadly that it could mean just about anything (as long as it's not a physical impossibility or some sort of logical impossibility). The "trait" that I'm naming would actually pass the consistency test posed by NTT if we don't inspect it for validity before using NTT. If we both agree that you cannot simply analyze each "reason" in a vacuum, you would need to remove all the reasons in one fell swoop when determining whether or not moral value is lost. The result might look like (although it's hard to tell how to frame it correctly):

My (privkeav's) belief is that there are no reasons that justify treating animals differently from humans under some (or any) circumstances

It should be obvious from this statement that either (1) it is morally acceptable to kill both humans and animals, or (2) it is morally acceptable to kill neither. In this way you might demonstrate a contradiction.

But, I would argue the contradiction is meaningless. It's been derived by asking, what if I didn't believe what I actually believe. This isn't a contradiction in my view. I would view this as: given X (my current moral reasoning), p is true. Given Y (a different type of reasoning), p is not true.

Please keep in mind that I am not trying to create a subjectivist argument - I'm actually an objectivist. But, I think it's possible for two different objectivists to have different belief systems.

I guess you can argue that this trait is incoherent, but this seems to be a way of validating the trait, so it goes beyond a mere consistency test. If you argue that the trait needs to be coherent before using NTT, well, I'm not really sure how to respond. It seems that a person would want to establish at least some notion of consistency before examining the validity of a reason. But, I guess you could attempt to establish validity before the consistency test, too.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:05 pm

privkeav wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:26 pm
Can we return to the role NTT plays in an overall argument - that of a consistency test. Because it seems that you are arguing about the validity of my reasoning, which, once again, should happen outside of NTT.
I thought we were done discussing NTT, I was addressing the validity of your reasoning.
That's why I don't use NTT; I think it's very easy to get people to explain themselves without NTT. NTT kind of *forces* a consistent justification that in my experience rational people are typically willing to provide if I just ask them. Most rational people feel intuitively compelled to justify their beliefs anyway, and likewise intuitively understand why they should be consistent and what that means.

NTT doesn't address the validity of people's reasoning beyond merely being consistent, and the underlying validity is the most important part of the conversation.

It's trivial to declare P2 false with invalid reasoning, from "god said so" to "I feel like it". I have no doubt that you can construct a system as convoluted as it needs to be to satisfy you and appear consistent enough about it to pass NTT.
privkeav wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:26 pm
The "trait" that I'm naming would actually pass the consistency test posed by NTT if we don't inspect it for validity before using NTT.
Like I said, that's trivial.

To quote the great philosopher Shania Twain, that don't impress me much.

I'm principally interested in challenging the validity of your reasoning. Passing NTT is trivial and intuitive for most people, and to risk sounding like a broken record I don't tend to use NTT for those reasons. It clearly has its niche, there are many people who have never thought about these things or don't understand basic logic, but I don't run into those people enough and I favor other arguments personally.

I don't know why you're stuck on NTT when you should be asking yourself more challenging questions.
privkeav wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:26 pm
Please keep in mind that I am not trying to create a subjectivist argument - I'm actually an objectivist. But, I think it's possible for two different objectivists to have different belief systems.
Certainly if one or both of them are incorrect in some measure.
privkeav wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:26 pm
I guess you can argue that this trait is incoherent, but this seems to be a way of validating the trait, so it goes beyond a mere consistency test.
Like I said, I don't use NTT. I have other arguments and I favor challenging the validity of the justifications head-on.
privkeav wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:26 pm
If you argue that the trait needs to be coherent before using NTT, well, I'm not really sure how to respond. It seems that a person would want to establish at least some notion of consistency before examining the validity of a reason. But, I guess you could attempt to establish validity before the consistency test, too.
Given the audience I engage with, I'm going to assume in the least that the person is at minimum consistent at that superficial "noob" level. I might ask or mention it if it seems like an incredible claim, but it's usually easy enough just to debunk the justification directly.

However, I understand that for most introductory level conversations and intro level debaters NTT is an easy script, and knowing how to debunk dozens of unique claims on the spot (many of which require in depth subject knowledge) may not always be practical.

Somebody presents with a headache, NTT is "take two asprin and call me in the morning", I'm doing a CT scan and pulling out my bone saw to get at the golf ball sized tumor that's causing it. Regardless of whether somebody is "consistent" or not with respect to human and non-human animals, the belief that something like "potential moral agency" has anything to do with morality indicates a serious underlying metaphysical and epistemological confusion that needs to be sorted out STAT.

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Post by privkeav » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:46 pm

Fair enough - I was mostly interested in analyzing NTT before moving on to a new subject. I wasn't sure if I was taking up too much of your time, but, if you would like to continue the discussion, let me start looking at your objections to my "trait" and see if I can present a better argument.

One thing that I'd like to point out is, that, when I started to present my reasoning, it was based on the notion that I needed to present it as a "trait" in order to pass a consistency test before it could even be evaluated. Trying to present my reasoning as a trait was creating a struggle for me, so I actually prefer avoiding NTT as well.

I'm not sure if I can present my reasoning in a way that will be coherent, but if you're willing to continue the conversation, I'll see what I can do. I haven't actually spent a great deal of time trying to explain my reasoning to anybody, so hopefully the discussion will be fruitful.

It may take a day or so because I need to look at your objections and try to figure out how to present it. If you do find my explanation incoherent or blatantly incorrect, I actually would appreciate feedback.

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Post by privkeav » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:44 am

There's a lot to cover, so I'm going to try looking at a portion of your criticism in the hopes of finding a starting point. I had stated:
Is my trait, "sometimes it's good that we look out for our own interests, and there's no proof that animal harm isn't one of those situations"?
to which you responded:
Here is where it would be beneficial to understand something about burden of proof. You're placing the burden of proof on those arguing we should abstain from certain apparently unnecessary harms to nonhuman animals; that is those who argue that there's no compelling reason to exclude non-humans from moral consideration merely because they aren't human.

Are you an ethnonationalist or white supremacist?
If so, then you are arguably being consistent here.
My understanding is that two of the major philosophical approaches are deontological (sort of rule based) and consequential/utilitarian (sort of looking at the results). I tend to look at things from a rule based approach - basically categorize things and ask what our obligations are.

For example, sexual preference is not considered a form of discrimination, but gender discrimination with respect to voting is considered a form of discrimination. What makes them different? One way of looking at it is to claim that gender discrimination with respect to voting results in harm. However, you can also look at this from a rule-based approach by claiming that we have an obligation to allow "intellectually competent" individuals to vote, whereas there is no obligation to date.

Whenever I say "no proof that animal harm isn't one of those situations", I'm asking, "Do we have an obligation to not harm nonhuman animals?". Also, I'm not shifting the burden of proof. I'm saying this is a question we both need to answer. I have a burden if I make the claim that the obligation does not exist, and you also have a burden if you claim the obligation does exist. Neither of us get's to claim our position is correct by default.

Also, I understand that most vegans may claim that plants cannot be harmed because they cannot perceive that they are being harmed. I actually view killing a plant as a form of harm. If you disagree with this, I can only claim that this is something that is fundamental to my view. So, I could re-write my original quote as follows:
Is my trait, "sometimes it's good that we look out for our own interests, and there's no proof that animal and plant harm isn't one of those situations"?
Please note, that, I was trying to create a trait that would distinguish humans from animals because that is what NTT calls for, even though my thought processes are relevant to plants as well.

And finally, I'm pretty sure you do not consider a person a racist if they acted in their own interests at the expense of a plant's life. I certainly would not.

EDIT - I'd like to also make it clear at the start, that as we proceed, my notion of interests will be made heliocentric, because I do not agree with a geocentric position. But, when a person is asked to name a trait that distinguishes a human from a nonhuman animal, it places them in a position where their "trait" appears to be geocentric in nature, even though this may not be the case.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:54 pm

privkeav wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:46 pm
I haven't actually spent a great deal of time trying to explain my reasoning to anybody, so hopefully the discussion will be fruitful.
Keep in mind that without ever having been forced to explain something you've never really been put in a position where you've been forced to think about it or challenge those thoughts. Trying to challenge the beliefs you want to hold is like trying to pick yourself up off the ground by your own ears.

As such, keep in mind that a belief that hasn't been challenged and changed is also overwhelmingly likely to be wrong, as any random position is.
We become right by starting off wrong, being corrected, and then adopting new positions that are at least less wrong.

So I hope you'll go into this with the assumption that at least in part you are overwhelmingly likely to be wrong, and be ready to change your views accordingly.
privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:44 am
My understanding is that two of the major philosophical approaches are deontological (sort of rule based) and consequential/utilitarian (sort of looking at the results). I tend to look at things from a rule based approach - basically categorize things and ask what our obligations are.
Deontology is wrong, but you might consider rule consequentialism.
See the infamous deontolgy thread: viewtopic.php?t=785
privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:44 am
However, you can also look at this from a rule-based approach by claiming that we have an obligation to allow "intellectually competent" individuals to vote, whereas there is no obligation to date.
Why is one an obligation and the other isn't? Here is where deontology fails. See again my comments on Occam's razor.
You may want to read some criticisms of Kant to understand that better, but to put it simply, every attempt at an eloquent mechanism for defining obligations has failed and resulted in internal contradiction. If you want to stick with deontology your only option is to make a very long and unsubstantiated/arbitrary list of rules and exceptions that just are because you said so and for no other reason. It's not a viable method to arrive at morality considering the teleology.

privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:44 am
Whenever I say "no proof that animal harm isn't one of those situations", I'm asking, "Do we have an obligation to not harm nonhuman animals?".
There is no argument to be made for *any* deontological obligation, so if that's your demand then you should be a nihilist.

Now if you want evidence for a consequentialist basis for e.g. rule consequentialism that asks this as a rule, that's very different.
privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:44 am
Neither of us get's to claim our position is correct by default.
But if something is so controversial as meat eating (keep in mind the majority of moral philosophers recognize it as problematic), then do you get to just DO it anyway until somebody "proves" it wrong, or should you abstain if it's not all that difficult until YOU can prove it permissible?

Have you never heard of the precautionary principle?
privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:44 am
Also, I understand that most vegans may claim that plants cannot be harmed because they cannot perceive that they are being harmed. I actually view killing a plant as a form of harm. If you disagree with this, I can only claim that this is something that is fundamental to my view.
So you're not open to changing your mind at all, this is just a dogma you hold with no reason or evidence?

Do you also believe rocks can be harmed by breaking them?
What do you think "harm" is, in the moral sense?
privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:44 am
And finally, I'm pretty sure you do not consider a person a racist if they acted in their own interests at the expense of a plant's life. I certainly would not.
No, because plants are not sentient and they have no interests. They do not care what happens to them or know anything at all. A plant's life is not an expense, so there's no reason not to take it unless that plant was important to something that IS sentient (like birds that live in it, or somebody's house plant which he or she enjoys).

Disqualifying something from moral value without a good reason is fundamentally the same kind of bias of arbitrary type of thing that is employed in racism. Disqualifying something from moral value because it can not possibly possess moral value due to lack of the fundamental prerequisites isn't.

It's not racism to prioritize giving sun screen to the white kids on your school field trip when you're running out either -- it's something based on evidence, that they'll actually burn more easily and more severely. And you *really* prioritize the redheads and those without tans.

When something is based on a legitimate evidence based justification rooted in a legitimate moral concern (like actual harm) it's not racism/specieism/sexism, etc. When something is based on weak or spurious evidence you just wanted to accept or based on arbitrary dictates about type without any credible moral justification, it IS racism/speciesim/sexism, and those are all fundamentally the same kind of bad faith reasoning. If you use any one of those unreasoned prejudices then you tacitly endorse the others, or in the very least you don't have a leg to stand on to criticize or reject them when applied against you or those you care for.

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Post by privkeav » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:45 pm

So I hope you'll go into this with the assumption that at least in part you are overwhelmingly likely to be wrong, and be ready to change your views accordingly.
I have no problems with making that assumption, and will take a look at some of the information you provided. It looks like I do have my work cut out for me. And, keep in mind, I wouldn't be asking questions if I was simply unwilling to budge on a topic.

But, I'd like to ask a few questions:
Deontology is wrong, but you might consider rule consequentialism.
Is this your opinion, or is there widespread agreement on this? One of the things that I've noticed is that there seems to be a number of different branches of normative ethics, each having its own set of supporters and critics. It doesn't seem like anybody has ever concluded anything is wrong, but maybe I'm just too much of a noob to be able to tell the difference.
Now if you want evidence for a consequentialist basis for e.g. rule consequentialism that asks this as a rule, that's very different.
I'll do some research on this to see if it's a better way for describing my reasoning.
But if something is so controversial as meat eating (keep in mind the majority of moral philosophers recognize it as problematic), then do you get to just DO it anyway until somebody "proves" it wrong, or should you abstain if it's not all that difficult until YOU can prove it permissible?
I am not making the claim that somebody needs to prove anything before I'm obligated to act. I'm simply saying that both ends of the argument need to be addressed. If you are saying that this is controversial, and we do need to heed the precautionary principle, then you are addressing your side of the argument and I need to respond in kind. But I also realize that this is not a subject for which anybody will create an infallible proof.
Do you also believe rocks can be harmed by breaking them?
What do you think "harm" is, in the moral sense?
I hate distant planet hypotheticals, but I do feel the need to present one. If there was a planet that was full of plant life (no sentient life), and somebody decided to exterminate all the plant life for no reason, how would you feel about this? Would you consider it acceptable because the plants cannot perceive that they are being killed? I mean, rocks cannot be harmed or killed. Maybe a plant cannot perceive harm, but it can be killed. In my case, I would consider exterminating all the plants on the planet to be an atrocity, but I don't know if I could adequately explain why. I admit that this is something that I do need to further research on, but, it just does not sit well with me that a living creature can be treated arbitrarily simply because it cannot perceive what is being done to it.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:38 pm

privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:45 pm
Is this your opinion, or is there widespread agreement on this?
Even among modern deontologists (there aren't that many) it's generally known that deontology is at least "unsolved" in terms of its justifications. Nobody has presented anything consistent yet. Modern deontologists consider this a challenge and think they're making progress on it, but there's really no way to quantify progress on making an argument valid. There's not a spectrum from 100% invalid to 100% valid. An argument is simply invalid, full stop.

It's wrong because it's never presented a coherent framework that could be right. The closest you have are simply arbitrary rule sets that are unjustified (usually the only people who believe in those are divine command theorists, who think they are justified because GOD, and that I understand, but you probably wouldn't fall into that category).

Maybe somebody will invent something deontology-adjacent that's still not consequentialist in justification, but it hasn't happened yet and until it does the framework isn't a reasonable one. Pretty much only theists follow it.
privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:45 pm
One of the things that I've noticed is that there seems to be a number of different branches of normative ethics, each having its own set of supporters and critics.
It's a little more complex than that. More like ethics is a creature with a number of attributes or genes, and different people agree on different attributes. Like in what sense consequence matters (does it matter what the consequence actually is? What you thought it was? etc.) A certain set can be broadly classified with Kantian deontology, Classical utilitarianism, etc. but there's a lot of nuance.

Virtue ethics has a lot of support, but it's actually usually a species of rule consequentialism: following virtues is good, but virtues are good because they generally have good consequences (not usually "just because").

There's also a distinction between a good outcome, a good act, and a good person.
privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:45 pm
If you are saying that this is controversial, and we do need to heed the precautionary principle, then you are addressing your side of the argument and I need to respond in kind. But I also realize that this is not a subject for which anybody will create an infallible proof.
Hopefully you'll give some thought for the standard of proof that you would find actionable.
privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:45 pm
If there was a planet that was full of plant life (no sentient life), and somebody decided to exterminate all the plant life for no reason, how would you feel about this?
It's a waste of resources, both intellectually and materially. It also reduces the likelihood or delays sentient life evolving on the planet, which could add more good to the universe.
privkeav wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:45 pm
I mean, rocks cannot be harmed or killed.
What if there were a planet covered in beautiful intricate crystals, and somebody destroyed them all for no reason?

Wanton waste is not a good thing for sure. A thing doesn't have to have intrinsic value to have extrinsic value to other sentient beings, even if just as a matter of beauty or curiosity.
The same is true for a beautiful painting, a historical building, etc.

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Post by teo123 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:54 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:Nobody has presented anything consistent yet.
And what about the non-aggression-principle? Anarchists often claim it follows right from the first principles.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYloEOwKjjA

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