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Going to the roots of lawfulness and justice (by way of King Alfred’s Book of Dooms)

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Sometimes the name of a book is just waaaaay cool, and King Alfred’s Book of Dooms takes the prize.

But that (while showing that I am not totally immune to the coolness factor  😉 ) is besides the main point.

The main issue is that for several weeks now, we have been dealing with radical secularism and its agenda for law, the state and justice. Especially, in light of the triple challenge of state power, lawfulness and sound leadership:

good_gov_chllg_b
NB: U/D B for clarity

What is justice, what is its foundation, and — where Alfred the Great and his Book of Dooms come in — how was this emplaced at the historical root of the Common Law tradition that the law and state framework of the English-speaking Peoples is built upon.

I think a good way to look at this is to headline an overnight comment [ed, let’s snip names as superfluous to main purpose, apologies extended]:

__________

>>The pivotal issue is justice vs power and does might make right.

magna-carta
King John at the sealing of Magna Carta, Runnymede on the Thames, June 15, 1215 (HT: Royal Mint)

Let’s go back to Runnymede, S Bank of the Thames, June 15, 1215.

The rebel barons are there, king John is there, full civil war is in the air, and Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has composed the charter.

[Yes, X the Chief of the Lords Spiritual, to give the name currently used in parallel with the Lords Temporal (i.e. of the House of Lords) . . . and one of the terms was a council of 25 Barons to oversee the Charter, which was the ancestor to parliaments and congresses.]

When boiled down, the heart of the charter that makes it relevant 800 years later, is this . . . and the numbers come from Blackstone:

+ (39) No free man

[–> recognition of freedom, the further question is, who shall be free]

shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions

[–> recognition of rights including property],

or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any way, nor will we proceed with force against him

[–> policing power & the sword of state subordinated to justice],

or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals

[ –> peers, i.e. trial by jury of peers]

or by the law of the land

[–> rule of law, not decree of tyrant or oligarch].

+ (40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

[–> integrity, lawfulness and legitimacy of government rooted in the priority of right and justice]

And yes, X, these come from the pen of the Archbishop of Canterbury. They hark back to the Christian king, Alfred the Great and the Book of Dooms, which — as was cited in 57 above but ignored  — literally starts the British Common Law tradition by citing the decalogue and other framework law from the Pentateuch.

I wonder why we never hear that when we hear of some atheistical secularist zealots screaming theocracy and trying to rip those lessons out of any place where they may tell the other side of the story on how we got to modern liberty and democracy?

Let me remind X of the wisdom of Bernard Lewis, as he counselled us on the brink of the rising war of civilisations, in his epochal 1990 essay, The Roots of Muslim Rage:

. . . The accusations are familiar. We of the West are accused of sexism, racism, and imperialism, institutionalized in patriarchy and slavery, tyranny and exploitation. To these charges, and to others as heinous, we have no option but to plead guilty — not as Americans, nor yet as Westerners, but simply as human beings, as members of the human race. In none of these sins are we the only sinners, and in some of them we are very far from being the worst. The treatment of women in the Western world, and more generally in Christendom, has always been unequal and often oppressive, but even at its worst it was rather better than the rule of polygamy and concubinage that has otherwise been the almost universal lot of womankind on this planet . . . .

In having practiced sexism, racism, and imperialism, the West was merely following the common practice of mankind through the millennia of recorded history. Where it is distinct from all other civilizations is in having recognized, named, and tried, not entirely without success, to remedy these historic diseases. And that is surely a matter for congratulation, not condemnation. We do not hold Western medical science in general, or Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Alzheimer in particular, responsible for the diseases they diagnosed and to which they gave their names.

Yes, a more balanced view of Christendom and its heritage is both possible and advisable, even as we foolishly stand on the crumbling brink of an abyss.

Surely, those wonderful multibillion dollar media empires have research staffs and can investigate the history I have highlighted?

Look, it is as close as Google and even Wikipedia, much less the British Library and the like.

Or is it that they willfully suppress the truth that not only directly through the Bible but literally in the opening words of Alfred the Great’s Book of Dooms, the decalogue is the foundation of the common law tradition on which the freedom and just government of the English Speaking Peoples — I here allude to Churchill — rests?

Including, for the United States of America?

For shame!

Yes, those very same ten commandments that [radical secularists] would rip out of any place of honour or respect near any Court.

Lest we overlook, let me cite from Alfred’s Book of Dooms:

Dooms.

The Lord was speaking these words to Moyse [= Moses], and thus quoth;

I am the Lord thine God. I led thee out of the Egyptians’ lands, and of their

Oklahoma, US 10 Commandments Monument banned by the State Supreme Court in a 2015 decision
Oklahoma, US 10 Commandments Monument banned by the State Supreme Court in a 2015 decision

bondage [–> slavery].

1. Love thou not other strange gods ever me.
2. Call not thou mine name in idleness, for that thou art not guiltless with me, if thou in idleness callest mine name.
3. Mind that thou hallow the rest-day. Work you six days, and on the seventh rest you. For that in six days Christ wrought heavens and earth, seas, and all shapen things that in them are, and rested him on the seventh day: and for that the Lord hallowed it.
4. Honour thine father and thine mother that the Lord gave thee : that thou be the longer living on earth.
5. Slay thou not.
6?. Commit thou not adultery.
7. Steal thou not .
8. Say thou not leasing witness.
9. Wish not thou thy neighbour’s goods with untight.
10. Work thou not to thyself golden gods or silvern. [–> scan not guaranteed 100%]

11. These are the dooms that thou shalt set them . . . .

49. These are dooms that the Almighty God himself was speaking to Moses, and bade him to hold, and, since the Lord’s onebegotten son, our God, that is, healing Christ, on middle earth came [–> “In the year of our Lord . . .” and now you know where “middle earth” comes from], he quoth that he came not these biddings to break nor to forbid, but with all good to eke them, and mild-heartedness and lowly-mindedness to learn [ –> teach, Alfred here alludes to and enfolds in the foundations, the Sermon on the Mount of Matt 5 – 7]. Then after his throes [sufferings], ere that his apostles were gone through all the earth to learn [teach], and then yet that they were together, many heathen nations they turned to God. While they all together were, they send erranddoers to Antioch and to Syria, Christ’s law to learn [teach]. When they understood that it speeded them not, then sent they an errand-writing to them. This is then that errand-writing that the apostles sent to Antioch, and to Syria, and to Cilicia, that are now from heathen nations turned to Christ.

The apostles and the elder brethren wish you health. And we make known to you, that we have heard that some of our fellows with our words to you have come, and bade you a heavier wise [way or law] to hold, than we bade them, and have too much misled you with manifold biddings, and your souls more perverted than they have righted. Then we assembled us about that, and to us all it seemed good, that we should send Paul and Barnabas, men that will their souls sell [give] for the Lord’s name. With them we sent Judas and Silas, that they to you the ilk [same] may say. To the Holy Ghost it was thought and to us, that we none burden on you should not set, over that to you was needful to hold, that is then, that ye forbear that ye devil-gilds [idols] worship, and taste blood and things strangled, and from fornication, and that ye will that other men do not to you, do ye not that to other men. [–> Yes, the Golden Rule of Moshe, of Yeshva and of Paulo, Apostolo Mart, is right there too.]

From this one doom a man may think that he should doom [judge] every one rightly: he need keep no other doom-book. Let him thmk [take care] that he doom to no man that he would not that he doom to him, if he sought doom over him. [–> This is essentially the point that Locke cited from “the judicious [Anglican Canon, Richard] Hooker [in his Ecclesiastical Polity 1594+]” when in his 2nd treatise on civil gov’t, he grounded the rights – lawfulness principle at the heart of modern liberty and democracy, cf. OP and here]

Since that, it happened that many nations took to Christ’s faith; there were many synods through all the middle earth gathered, and eke throughout the English race, they took to Christ’s faith, of holy bishops’, and eke of other exalted witan [wise men]. They then set forth, for their mild-heartedness, that Christ learned [taught], at almost every misdeed, that the worldly lords might, with their leave, without sin, at the first guilt, take their fee-boot that they then appointed; except in treason against a lord, to which they durst not declare no mild-hearted ness, for that the God Almighty doomed none to them that slighted him, nor Christ God’s son doomed none to him that sold him to death, and he bade to love a lord as himself. They then in many synods set a boot for many misdeeds of men ; and in many synod books they wrote, here, one doom, there, another.

I then, Alfred king, gathered these together, and bade to write many of those that our foregoers held,—those that to me seemed good: and many of those that seemed not good, I set aside with mine witan’s counsel, and in other wise bade to hold them: for that I durst not venture much of mine own to set in writing, for that it was unknown to me what of this would be liking to those that were after us. But those that I met with either in Ine’s days mine kinsman, or in Offa’s, king of Mercia, or in Ethelbryte’s that first took baptism in the English race,—they that seemed to me the lightest, I gathered them herein and let alone the others.

I then, Alfred, king of the West Saxons, shewed these to all mine witan, and they then said that that all seemed good to them to hold . . .

That, is where it begins, this is the actual foundation on which Common Law, modern liberty and Democracy were built.

Moyse, Yeshva, James and the gathered Apostles and Elders in the Jerusalem Council of Ac 15, AD 48/9, the teachings of Missionary Bishops and Witan made mild-hearted by the power of the gospel.

And yet, this is not in our history books, it is not in the mouths and hearts of our talking head pundits, it is not in our media, I daresay it is likely not in our Law-Schools (I hope, it is in some few).

For shame!

Let us show respect for those who laid the foundations that many would now so ignorantly undermine and toss on the rubbish heap in rage against “religion,” fed by one sided litanies against the sins of Christendom and smug confidence in the superiority of radical secularism . . . all, duly dressed up in a lab coat? (For in the madness of scientism, so many have been deluded to imagine, that “science is the only begetter of truth”; a claim that refutes itself for it is a philosophical claim and cannot stand its own test. But, we must not look behind the curtains to see who is pulling the strings . . . )

Have the decency to listen to the wisdom of the past and to respect lessons bought hard, with blood and tears!

And the ghosts of — what, coming on 200 million victims of radical secularist and neopagan-influenced tyrannies of the century just past — join in the chorus warning you against a stubbornly mad march of folly.

Anyway, back to justice.

What is it, why is it so important, where does it come from, why should we pay it any heed?

Justice lawfully and duly balances rights, freedoms and responsibilities in the community, the blessed nation with limited and legitimate government, under God.

The root and foundation and chief champion of Justice.

Yes, the one who so many despise today, who inspired Micah:

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee,
O man,
what is good;
and what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly,
and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God? [KJV]

But, we run ahead.

Justice duly balances rights, freedoms and responsibilities, requiring the active support of citizen and state alike.

Where, a responsibility is plainly a duty, an OUGHT.

Where again, a right is a binding morally grounded expectation for respect in one’s life, liberty, innocent reputation and more.

Again, it points to OUGHT, to our being under moral government.

And where freedom or liberty is well summed up in Webster’s 1828 dictionary (written before the revisionists could get their hands on the dictionaries):

LIB’ERTY, noun [Latin libertas, from liber, free.]

1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.

2. Natural liberty consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.

3. Civil liberty is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty

The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.

In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty

4. Political liberty is sometimes used as synonymous with civil liberty But it more properly designates the liberty of a nation, the freedom of a nation or state from all unjust abridgment of its rights and independence by another nation. Hence we often speak of the political liberties of Europe, or the nations of Europe.

5. Religious liberty is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.

6. liberty in metaphysics, as opposed to necessity, is the power of an agent to do or forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the mind, by which either is preferred to the other.

Freedom of the will; exemption from compulsion or restraint in willing or volition.

7. Privilege; exemption; immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant; with a plural. Thus we speak of the liberties of the commercial cities of Europe.

8. Leave; permission granted. The witness obtained liberty to leave the court.

9. A space in which one is permitted to pass without restraint, and beyond which he may not lawfully pass; with a plural; as the liberties of a prison.

10. Freedom of action or speech beyond the ordinary bounds of civility or decorum. Females should repel all improper liberties.

To take the liberty to do or say any thing, to use freedom not specially granted.

To set at liberty to deliver from confinement; to release from restraint.

To be at liberty to be free from restraint.

Liberty of the press, is freedom from any restriction on the power to publish books; the free power of publishing what one pleases, subject only to punishment for abusing the privilege, or publishing what is mischievous to the public or injurious to individuals.

First occurrence in the Bible(KJV): Leviticus 25:10

In short liberty is also deeply rooted in the moral government of OUGHT, and the insight that we are responsibly free rational creatures.

So, the pivotal issue is what grounds OUGHT, how comes we are under its government, under moral law?

Surely, not the cynically nihilistic and amoral credo, that might and manipulation make ‘right.’

Such, is patently absurdly self-refuting; as, the very point at stake is that might and manipulation generally make wrong, not right.

Indeed they obviously lead us straight down the vortex of tyranny.

This brings us right up against the IS-OUGHT gap and to the challenge that we must find an answer. And, post Hume, it is clear that this can come at only one level: World- Roots, World- Foundations.

If we deny that we are under moral government, it is not only that might and manipulation usually make for wrong, but that the irresistible sense that we are under government of ought would imply that we are under a grand delusion. That is, we undermine rationality and responsible freedom, that is, this view self-refutes and self-falsifies by undermining rationality itself.

We know ourselves to be rational above all else and have no good reason to reject the testimony of hearts, minds and consciences that we are under moral government, under moral law. Moral law that can only have its source in a world-foundational is.

Pace, Dawkins and his self-falsifying declamations:

In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [ “God’s Utility Function,” Sci. Am. Aug 1995, pp. 80 – 85.]

Pace, Crick and his self-falsifying Astonishing Hypothesis:

. . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

Pace, Provine and his undermining of morality and responsible freedom:

Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . .

All these and many more of like ilk only succeed in showing that evolutionary materialism and its fellow travelers are self-falsifying on pain of the fallacy of grand delusion.

No, after centuries of debates there is but one serious candidate to be the IS that grounds OUGHT, thus justice:

the inherently good Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of ultimate trust and loyalty, worthy of the reasonable — not irrational or superstitious or blind — service of doing the good in accord with our evident, manifest nature. (And this implies that per Lincoln, insistently calling the tail of a sheep a leg has no power to magically increase the number of its legs to five, not even when the magical incantation is solemnly pronounced by black robed judges operating under colour of law and abusing or usurping the power to interpret constitutional instruments.)

That is the real challenge, morality, ontology and cosmology join with one voice to point to the roots of moral government and they point where ever so many in our day refuse to go.

Even, if they have to stop their ears, shut their eyes, silence conscience and heart then cling to absurdities to do so.

Our civilisation is on a determined march of folly over a cliff, and it will take a miracle to turn it back before it is too late.

Those who refuse to learn the lessons of history bought over centuries with much blood and tears, doom themselves to learn the same over and over again, at much the same apalling price.>>
___________

So, where are we? Why?

Where are we headed?

What should we now do, how?

Have we done wisely?

Perhaps, the last word should belong to Jesus: wisdom is justified by her children.

Let us ponder. END

98 Replies to “Going to the roots of lawfulness and justice (by way of King Alfred’s Book of Dooms)

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Starting from King Alfred’s Book of Dooms and the roots of the Common Law Tradition

  2. 2
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus;

    Once again: the IS-OUGHT gap is exaggerated and easily resolved:

    —————————————————————–THE OUGHT-IS GAP—————————————————————–

    This problem is simply the question of how the existence of facts in the world (the IS) leads to the conclusion that some things are morally necessary (the OUGHT). How does a fact become an obligation?

    kairosfocus attributes this problem to Hume:

    Hume’s Guillotine:

    In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised [orig; surpriz’d] to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason. [Hume, David (1739). A Treatise of Human Nature. London: John Noon. p. 335.]

    This is a classic statement of the IS-OUGHT gap, and it is what I had in mind in saying: “The question, in short, is whether we actually are under moral government of ought.”

    kairosfocus also cited Arthur Holmes on this:

    So, we are back to Arthur Holmes in Ethics:

    However we may define the good, however well we may calculate consequences, to whatever extent we may or may not desire certain consequences, none of this of itself implies any obligation of command. That something is or will be does not imply that we ought to seek it. We can never derive an “ought” from a premised “is” unless the ought is somehow already contained in the premise . . . .

    In a nut-shell, the so-called “IS-OUGHT” gap occurs when we try to take the step from what things are to what thing we ought to do. How do we justify that step?

    In fact, the IS-OUGHT “gap” is no more than a crack in the sidewalk; bridging the IS-OUGHT gap is trivial.

    How?

    kairosfocus posted the idea himself many times when KF cited from Locke and Aristotle (via Hooker):

    … let me draw attention again to the pivotal clip from Hooker cited by Locke in his 2nd treatise on govt ch 2 sec 5:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in anything extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80]

    In plain English: Locke asks a question:

    If I want people to do good to me, how can I expect my desire to be satisfied unless I satisfy that desire in others?

    Locke’s answer is that nature imposes a natural duty of treating others with the same care we want them to treat us. Because we are all equally human, natural reason directs us clearly on this matter.

    Aristotle’s comment is likewise obvious: we must refrain from doing to others that which we don’t want them to do to us.

    Hume’s exaggerated “gap” is easily bridged by reciprocity. We are obligated to behave morally because we want to be treated morally. We cannot expect others to treat any of us better than we treat others.

    This ain’t rocket science. It’s an ancient idea we call “The Golden Rule”.

    Because of how the world IS and how it BEHAVES we are obligated to avoid doing evil because we dearly want to NOT be on the receiving end of Evil. The facts of nature (the IS) compel us to act in certain ways (the OUGHT) if only in our self-interest. The obligation created by our social nature, by duty or by empathy, sympathy, or compassion impose obligations even if not in our self-interest.

    Even more ironic is that Locke’s answer to Hume’s Guillotine precedes Hume’s work by decades. Aristotle’s comment is centuries older; as is the Golden Rule. Hume’s Guillotine was obsolete as soon as he wrote it.

    Responding to Arthur Holmes (cited above); an obligation does not need a “command” given by a person; an obligation can be imposed by natural imperatives.

    sean s.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    SS,

    Sorry, but as already pointed out that does not work like that.

    Hooker pointed out that we best sense the duty of care when we are owed the duty, then reverses the direction on the premise of equality of nature and moral worth.

    So, the GR is not in itself the foundation of moral obligation, and indeed the practical gap between what is and what ought often shows that if one is powerful enough one can get away with much that ought not to be.

    The natural, naturally sensed imperative, in short pivots on the worth of the person, his purpose, his responsible freedom and endowment that give rights that ought to be respected.

    Yes, these can be discerned through the force of the imperative that bubbles up from conscience but that is still not yet their foundation.

    The only foundation that can bear the weight of ought is one inextricably tied to the roots of reality.

    And that, raises the issue of candidates.

    Matter-energy, space-time and blind chance or mechanical interactions cannot make the grade.

    The only serious candidate is as described.

    Which, today, many just do not want.

    KF

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I have felt it best to be generic, and apologise to C for being overly specific. KF

  5. 5
    Zachriel says:

    Your diagram still has anarchy at three distinct corners, meaning that the three dimensions are not independent. If any of the three dimensions pegs-out, then it’s anarchy, regardless of the other two dimensions.

    To be coherent, lawfulness should go from arbitrary to rigid; and leadership from absolute monarchy to pure democracy. You’re good with state power from total to anarchy. You can examine this in detail by trying to find examples to represent each of the eight corners.

    The traditional method is egalitarian-hierarchical (left-right), and state power (authoritarian-libertarian). You’ll notice these dimensions are largely independent, so you can have left libertarian, right libertarian, left authoritarian, right authoritarian, or various in-betweens.

    ETA: Given the modifications to your cubic analysis, both systems show the sustainable center somewhere near the middle.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, your talking point makes for a handy dismissal, but fails to reckon adequately with the point already explained. Namely, absence of law in a region is anarchic. Absence of state power is anarchic. Absence or loss of leadership is anarchic. Where this is nicely summed up by dictionary.com : “of, like, or tending to anarchy.” That is, by using -IC, I intend to show tendency and similitude also underlying essence. Put all three together and you get full bore anarchy and chaos, so repulsive that it (or its apparent threat) is often a first crisis stage leading to tyranny as people look for order and safety. KF

    PS: The L/R spectrum is simply dead if for decades it cannot properly categorise a political movement for which a main exemplar was the National Socialist German Workers Party.

    PPS: Websters:

    >>-ic
    adjective suffix

    : having the character or form of

    : of or relating to

    : coming from or containing>>

  7. 7
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Namely, absence of law in a region is anarchic. Absence of state power is anarchic.

    Then your lawfulness category overlaps that of your state power category.

    The lack of state power is defined as anarchy. If you define lawfulness as the “amount of government”, then all you have done is overlapped with state power, which is why they both end in anarchy.

    An independent lawfulness scale might range from rigid to arbitrary. Then you might have a weak government that is based on law, a weak government that is arbitrary, a strong government that is based on law, a strong government that is arbitrary. Perhaps that is not what you meant, but your current cubic analysis does not represent three independent dimensions.

    ETA: Again, we encourage you to consider this in detail by trying to find examples to represent each of the eight corners.

  8. 8
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @3

    Hooker pointed out that we best sense the duty of care when we are owed the duty, then reverses the direction on the premise of equality of nature and moral worth.

    Hooker is wrong. Reciprocal obligations cannot be reversed since they already flow both ways.

    So, the GR is not in itself the foundation of moral obligation, and indeed the practical gap between what is and what ought often shows that if one is powerful enough one can get away with much that ought not to be.

    If “one is powerful enough one can get away with much that ought not to be ” even with your religious system. This is not a matter of “grounding moral obligation”; it is a matter of “enforcing moral obligation”.

    The Golden Rule is more than adequate to ground moral obligation.

    The natural, naturally sensed imperative, in short pivots on the worth of the person, his purpose, his responsible freedom and endowment that give rights that ought to be respected.

    No. The naturally sensed imperative is based on the mutual and reciprocal need of all persons for the means of survival.

    Yes, these can be discerned through the force of the imperative that bubbles up from conscience but that is still not yet their foundation.

    The fact of our interdependence and vulnerability grounds this moral imperative. No further foundation is needed.

    The only foundation that can bear the weight of ought is one inextricably tied to the roots of reality.

    This mutual and reciprocal obligation is tied to the roots of reality, so it can bear all the moral weight you care to put on it.

    And that, raises the issue of candidates.

    This mutual and reciprocal obligation is tied to the roots of reality, so it’s an excellent “candidate”.

    Matter-energy, space-time and blind chance or mechanical interactions cannot make the grade.

    The only serious candidate is as described.

    Which, today, many just do not want.

    This mutual and reciprocal obligation is tied to the roots of reality, so it’s a serious “candidate”, even if you don’t want it.

    Your religious rule is not a serious candidate because it is, at the end of analysis, entirely subjective and unverifiable.

    sean s.

  9. 9
    Brent says:

    SS,

    Locke’s answer is that nature imposes a natural duty of treating others with the same care we want them to treat us. Because we are all equally human, natural reason directs us clearly on this matter.

    Sean, do you remember when I told you that, at the back of every attempt to ground morality naturally, in man, that it would ultimately smuggle in an unspoken morality to rest upon? That’s exactly what you’ve done.

    It might be a good idea to do to others what you’d have them do to you, but that isn’t morality at all. The real moral point you’ve smuggled in is that it is unfair to treat others poorly when we’d not like to be treated that way ourselves (EDIT: actually, even if we did want to be treated that way ourselves for some perverse reason). If it wasn’t for our feelings of fairness at root, it is in fact selfishness to “do unto others.” What I do may benefit others, but in your account I only do it for myself. And if we leave it at that, we agree that I’m still being immoral, still being selfish.

    It’s fairness that is the point here. It’s hard to see the distinction because, thankfully, we all agree, generally, about fairness, which is only worked out in “doing unto others . . .”

    Hume’s exaggerated “gap” is easily bridged by reciprocity. We are obligated to behave morally because we want to be treated morally. We cannot expect others to treat any of us better than we treat others.

    It’s funny that you say the gap is easily bridged, and then take the massive leap from reciprocity to morality. No one thinks of those terms as synonymous. Our jails are full to the brim with those who were put there being very reciprocal. Reciprocity plays nicely on the evil side of the tracks just fine. Morality??? Not for a moment.

    This ain’t rocket science. It’s an ancient idea we call “The Golden Rule”.

    The Golden Rule tells us how to act fair, not what fairness is, nor even whether or not it is obligatory to be fair.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, state power does not at all imply law, though we normally have law when there is a state or even by culturally enforced customs without a state as such. Absence of state power is not a synonym for absence of law. Lawfulness is not synonymous with “amount” of government. Law does not scale from rigid to arbitrary. Law frames can be despotic-decree oriented, corpus of laws (with emphasis on incremental change based on the existing body . . . cf Corpus Juris Civilis), constitutional-democratic, and of course absence (apart from laws of nature) which is anarchic. Leadership is also distinct. KF

    PS: I add, in my native land, we have a Constitution with ordinary clauses, entrenched clauses and deeply entrenched clauses [–> one of the chief drafters fought in the trenches of WW 1], that are increasingly difficult to amend. That is meant to protect a core.

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    Brent (attn SS): thoughtful points, the tendency is to implicitly bring ought back in without facing the world foundation challenge. KF

  12. 12
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: state power does not at all imply law…

    So we can have a state without law.* As anarchy is absence of a state, a state without law is not anarchy.

    * (A simple example is where all matters are brought before the king, who decides each on a case-by-case basis, Solomon-style.)

  13. 13
    sean samis says:

    Brent @9

    It might be a good idea to do to others what you’d have them do to you, but that isn’t morality at all.

    If, as kairosfocus’s many comments imply, if morality is the “OUGHT”, if morality is a system of rules to tell us what we “OUGHT” to do, then fairness is a basis for morality.

    If we do things because we think a deity commanded it and we don’t want to be punished, then moral acts under that system are in fact selfishness. Heaven and Hell are part of a reward system. Even in kairosfocus’s account, we do good things for ourselves; left to that we’re still being immoral and selfish even under a theistic moral model.

    A morality that is founded on fairness and reciprocity can’t be worse if the results are the same.

    It’s fairness that is the point here. It’s hard to see the distinction because, thankfully, we all agree, generally, about fairness, which is only worked out in “doing unto others . . .”

    It’s hard to see the distinction because the results are the same. The only distinction is that my model is based on something we can all see and evaluate whereas a theistic model is based on something no one can see or evaluate.

    It’s funny that you say the gap is easily bridged, and then take the massive leap from reciprocity to morality.

    It’s not a great leap. It’s a tiny step.

    Our jails are full to the brim with those who were put there being very reciprocal. Reciprocity plays nicely on the evil side of the tracks just fine.

    Name me one person who we would put into prison for obeying the Golden Rule. I’ve been quite clear: reciprocity is not about doing unto others WHAT THEY DID TO YOU. That’s revenge, or vigilantism. I’ve been clear that reciprocity is what the GR defines. We don’t put people in prison for that.

    Name for me just one act which would be in strict compliance with the Golden Rule and everything else I’ve said but which would still be obviously immoral.

    The Golden Rule tells us how to act fair, not what fairness is, nor even whether or not it is obligatory to be fair.

    That’s just foolish. The GR is not intended to teach us “what fairness is”; the GR tells us how to behave. “Fairness” is a term for that kind behavior; so is “reciprocity”. It’s as good a morality as we could find.

    And the language of the GR is simple: “DO …” In case you’ve forgotten your English grammar, starting a sentence with the word “DO” is to employ the imperative form of the verb “to do”; it is the exact form of a command. Commands communicate obligation. The imperative language of the GR most decidedly makes it clear that its instructions are obligatory.

    And if that’s not enough for you, there are also those quotes from Locke and Aristotle included in my comments. The GR does not stand alone and the obligation is well communicated. Shakespeare has a nice quote on the topic too:

    “… we do pray for mercy,
    and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.”
    — Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice; Act IV, Sc. I

    One need not believe in a deity to see the value of Shakespeare’s point. Fairness (reciprocity) is doing unto others that which WE WANT others to do unto us. And our “want” makes our “doing” obligatory.

    sean s.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel,

    I wonder if you are using a tablet or smartphone, and the image is not updated. If you do not see a cite from Magna Carta, your image file is out of date.

    Next, I suggest that anarchic due to absence of a state is not the same as anarchy outright. It trends there but is not there yet.

    Likewise, you may have despotism where the decree of one person is law of life or death but it changes with his mood. That is not anarchy but it is tyrannical or better — less familiar – despotic.

    It is possible to have a king with in principle absolute power but the existence of a corpus of law and linked previous decisions (oral and/or written) may constrain behaviour towards fair-minded govt.

    This can also shade over into parliaments that hold joint sovereignty [and which may not be wholly democratic], where any legislation may be of constitutional character. BTW, this is currently so for the UK, which has no one written, supreme constitutional law or document. Indeed aspects of Magna Carta are still in force, though most are superseded or have become utterly outdated.

    Constitutional democracy is the next step along.

    Beyond we can see the anarchic case of no law or no effective law in a region, beyond that of nature. This invites despotism.

    You can have a state without law, you can have law without a unified state or with a failed state. You can have collapse or absence of both law and the state.

    and in absence of leadership you have the complete chaotic circumstance in mind.

    Even without state and law, potentially dominant leadership likely to gain support and take power can have a restraining effect. (People do reckon with, what if X emerges as a king and modify present behaviour in light of future possibilities. They may also try to assassinate X.)

    KF

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    SS:

    One need not believe in a deity to see the value of Shakespeare’s point. Fairness (reciprocity) is doing unto others that which WE WANT others to do unto us. And our “want” makes our “doing” obligatory [–> prudent].

    Big difference, and one that tends to suggest: restraint in anticipation of possible retaliation, i.e. a form of might makes right.

    You are still not really addressing OUGHT.

    KF

  16. 16
    sean samis says:

    … and @13 I forgot: this is in the Lord’s Prayer too:

    Matthew 6:12

    And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    sometimes also said as;

    And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

    sometimes also said as;

    And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sinned against us.

    sean s.

  17. 17
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @16

    You are still not really addressing OUGHT.

    I have. What is missing?

    sean s.

  18. 18
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @16

    Big difference, and one that tends to suggest: restraint in anticipation of possible retaliation, i.e. a form of might makes right.

    This is a core part of Christian morality also; fear of your God’s retaliation.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    Sean, Ought obtains without enforcement or even likelihood of possible retaliation, it obtains even when the law in force is wrong; indeed it is what reformers appeal to. And as you just added on possible future judgement, ought is binding without reference to such (where, too, eternal judgement is not a retaliation, just as sentence and sanction of a court are not mere revenge). That law may have sanctions is not the same thing as what ought and particularly the ought of justice, is. KF

  20. 20
    redwave says:

    Sean Samis. “The Golden Rule is more than adequate to ground moral obligation. … The naturally sensed imperative is based on the mutual and reciprocal need of all persons for the means of survival. … The fact of our interdependence and vulnerability grounds this moral imperative. No further foundation is needed.”

    Within and for the statements given, ground, obligation, imperative, fact, foundation, are contingent on the means of survival and are therefore not fundamental principles. One can make contingent claims, using common linguistic constructs, yet the contingency persists without underlying fundamental principles … fundamental principles are a ground for contingency. In other words, there exists a shifting foundation with uncertain factual content, no real command (imperative), only situational obligation, and a sink-hole laiden grounding in terms of survival as a primary need. Survival, and the means of survival, is only mutual and reciprocal when one can not survive alone, to live another day … survival is dependent on time and circumstance. And imputing ‘survival’ with an absolute embedded driving force is counterfactual to materialism’s contingent claims.

    Sean Samis. “Name for me just one act which would be in strict compliance with the Golden Rule and everything else I’ve said but which would still be obviously immoral.”

    Answer: Sadomasochism in pedophilia.

  21. 21
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus I don’t disagree with your #19. The GR lacks a threat of punishment. One should just behave as the Rule commands. This is a trait many Christian “rules” also share.

    So your comment #19 seems to lack an issue with my position. Did I miss something?

    sean s.

  22. 22
    sean samis says:

    redwave @20

    Within and for the statements given, ground, obligation, imperative, fact, foundation, are contingent on the means of survival and are therefore not fundamental principles…

    Most moral decisions are context laden.

    Is it immoral to saw off the leg of a stranger without the stranger’s consent?

    It Depends. Is it torture? Or life-saving surgery on an unconscious person? One is immoral, the other is not. In this instance, the moral valence of the act is very contingent.

    The only fundamental principle needed is the injunction to do no unjustified harm to others. If you want to add that topic, just let me know. I have something I’ve posted on this site several times to work as a starting point.

    Answer: Sadomasochism in pedophilia.

    Certainly not. Everything in pedophilia would violate the rules I’ve described. Pedophilia cannot be consensual in the first instance (per the GR at least), so a nice glass of cool water in pedophilia is still immoral. Since minors cannot consent even to “ordinary” sexual contact, sadomasochistic contact is yet another thing a minor cannot consent to (per the GR at least).

    Let me be clear; my comments about the GR and reciprocity are not by any means the totality of a valid moral system; nor have I intended them to be.

    The context established by the earlier comments on this thread is clear: the GR, fairness, and reciprocity are able to bridge the gap kairosfocus frets about: the “gap” between ought and is.

    A fuller discussion of moral systems has occurred elsewhere on this site; if you want, we could revisit the topic here, kairosfocus permitting of course.

    sean s.

  23. 23
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: I suggest that anarchic due to absence of a state is not the same as anarchy outright.

    Anarchy is normally *defined* as the absence of government.

    kairosfocus: you may have despotism where the decree of one person is law of life or death but it changes with his mood.

    That’s not anarchy, but a monarchy acting arbitrarily.

    kairosfocus: You can have a state without law, you can have law without a unified state or with a failed state.

    That’s right. And if you have a state without law, that doesn’t make it anarchy. An example would be of a government (whether monarchy or democracy) that makes ad hoc decisions.

    Hence, your cubic analysis is flawed. The three dimensions are not independent, and they don’t all peg out at anarchy, as is shown in the diagram.

  24. 24
    drc466 says:

    SS,

    The Golden Rule is completely incapable of bridging the IS-OUGHT gap, for a multitude of reasons:

    1) What is the foundation for the GR, other than “sounds good to me?” Why is it any better as an IS-OUGHT gap bridge than, say, “Do unto others before they do unto you”? or “Don’t do anything”? After all, having others treat you the same way you want to be treated works out well for you – but stealing all their stuff and running away might work better, especially if you’re poor and they’re rich!
    2) “Reciprocity” fails as a moral foundation, for the simple reason that no two people want the same thing for themselves. If an extrovert and an introvert walk into a room, what is the moral good – to start a conversation, or to leave the other person alone? Whose moral code prevails? Is it morally correct for the extrovert to start badgering the introvert? Is it morally correct for the introvert to treat the extrovert like a leper? After all – that is how they themselves would wish to be treated!
    3) The GR fails to define morality at a group level, and at the “tough love” level. How do you impose a system of punishment as “morally good” if your criteria is “I wouldn’t want to be punished, so I shouldn’t punish them”? When the morally right thing, whether for society’s sake, or for the good of the recipient, is punishment?
    4) If the GR is good, why isn’t a different formulation better? Like, “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them“? Or, “Do unto others as their mother would do unto them“? I suppose you could argue that you only know what you want, not what they/their mothers want – but now you are elevating your desires above theirs, which is contradictory to the stated goal of the GR. What a muddle.
    5) The GR misses an entire subset of IS-OUGHT considerations. What about when no other individual is involved? Are there no IS-OUGHT considerations for actions taken alone? Do we declare suicide, self-mutilation, etc. out of consideration? What about if animals are involved? Do we elevate animals’ rights to that of humans and apply the GR, or do we still get to kill and eat them for food if we are hungry? And does the IS-OUGHT formulation change if we are hunting for sport only?

    I don’t think reciprocity is a very good IS-OUGHT solution.

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel,

    The Free Dictionary:

    ____________

    >>an·ar·chy (?n??r-k?)
    n. pl. an·ar·chies
    1. Absence of any form of political authority.
    2. Political disorder and confusion.
    3. Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose.
    [New Latin anarchia, from Greek anarkhi?, from anarkhos, without a ruler : an-, without; see a-1 + arkhos, ruler; see -arch.]
    American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

    anarchy (?æn?k?)
    n
    1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) general lawlessness and disorder, esp when thought to result from an absence or failure of government
    2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the absence or lack of government
    3. the absence of any guiding or uniting principle; disorder; chaos
    4. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the theory or practice of political anarchism
    [C16: from Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek anarkhia, from anarkhos without a ruler, from an- + arkh- leader, from arkhein to rule]
    anarchic an?archical adj an?archically adv
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

    an•ar•chy (?æn ?r ki)

    n.
    1. a state of society without government or law.
    2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control.
    3. a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.
    4. confusion; chaos; disorder.
    [1530–40; < Middle French anarchie or Medieval Latin anarchia >
    ____________

    In short, nope not just absence of a state [in the sense of a government], but including broader absence and breakdown.

    KF

  26. 26
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: In short, nope not just absence of a state [in the sense of a government], but including broader absence and breakdown.

    Oh, gee whiz. Throwing every possible definition at it is not an argument. When discussing political theory, anarchy refers to the absence of government.

    Furthermore, it’s clear from your latest comments that your use of the term “anarchy” means something different in each of the three dimensions. No wonder it doesn’t make sense! You read the word “anarchy” in each of the scales and it means something different to you each time! Makes perfect sense!

  27. 27
    tintinnid says:

    Kairosfocus, I admit to not reading Hume, or Locke, or Hooker, or Plato. But I would love to hear you explain the IS-Ought gap without referring to some philosopher. Living or dead.

    I think that SS makes many good points. And the golden rule, which is not christian, or judeo-christian in nature, is an excellent one. If I don’t want (people to treat me poorly (IS) I should (OUGHT) to treat other people well. To me, this is a requirement of living within society. If I want to try to live “outside” of society, that is my choice. But the consequences to my decision will be decided by society, not religion, or any IS-OUGHT nonsense.

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, I am highlighting that your provided definition is not a lock-up. KF

    PS: You seem insistent on not noticing that to make things more specific thus technically clearer I have switched to anarchic [though that is a less familiar term and -ic is an oddish suffix], and have pointed out, no state, no law, no leadership as the relevant anarchic states on each axis. This from the first. Put the three together and you get full anarchic chaos [full anarchy not just a trend or reflective of etc], the repeller pole. There are sufficient cases in point to show why this makes good sense. Assassination of a ruler is a notorious dirty political move for a reason, for instance. breakdown or absence of law has obvious implications. Likewise, disintegration or absence of a state. Mix all three and things get hairy indeed.

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    TT, SS’ problem is not whether the GR is indeed a good guide to moral life, when informed by some common sense and basic virtue. The problem is that it itself is not foundational, it is not a world-root IS that grounds OUGHT. Ask, why OUGHT we to recognise, respect, love and treat neighbour as self — apart from fear of retaliation etc? Where does moral government come from beyond might and manipulation make ‘right’? That is a far deeper issue. KF

    PS: BTW, in the positive, do good to neighbour as you would have neighbour do to you, in our civilisation, this rule is deeply Judaeo-Christian. But in fact it reflects a creation order law in our hearts that starts from self recognition of responsible freedom and value such that one is owed respect in certain ways that define rights. Justice arises when we realise that others are of like nature, freedom and worth — itself a serious issue — so there is a mutuality of duties. Thus the civil peace of justice arises as duly balancing rights, freedoms and responsibilities. But at this point we see that we have not bridged from IS to OUGHT at world-foundation level. Which is the original challenge. And the only serious candidate is as was noted.

  30. 30
    tintinnid says:

    KF:” The problem is that it itself is not foundational, it is not a world-root IS that grounds OUGHT.”

    Assertion. Not fact. I asked you to explain why the GR does not bridge this gap. Not to condescend to me because I don’t accept your assertion.

    If society (secular or otherwise) can not persevere without people more or less following some version of the GR, (which it cant’t) why do we have to add an extra layer of your IS-OUGHT nonsense to it? I don’t mean to offend, but how wrong can we go if we follow “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”?

    If you can provide me an example where this would not work, I would be glad to hear it. Because I have plenty of examples where deviating from this has had dire consequences. Do you really want me to itemize them?

  31. 31
    drc466 says:

    tin,

    why do we have to add an extra layer of your IS-OUGHT nonsense to it?

    You find a wallet on a crowded street. It contains $500 in cash, along with driver’s license, credit cards, etc. The GR would say you give the money back. You do so, because you’ve decided to follow the GR.
    Your friend finds the same wallet. He decides to take the money. You tell him he should give it back. He asks you why. You tell him he should follow the GR. He asks you why, again. What do you tell him?

    Regardless of your answer, you’ve just had to leave the IS, and move to the OUGHT. The GR is not an OUGHT. An OUGHT is still necessary, unless you think no-one in the world will ever ask you, “Why?”

  32. 32
    tintinnid says:

    DRC466, how is your IS-OUGHT gap any different if there is an “objective” moral OUGHT mandated by god? My friend is still just as likely to keep the money whether I tell him the GR suggests that he return it or if god suggests that he return it. Is it possible that GEM’s IS-OUGHT is just [snip-language warning, KF], and not of any real value in the real world

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    TT,

    I first must give a warning on language.

    Second, it is clear that you did not address the immediately following point:

    Ask, why OUGHT we to recognise, respect, love and treat neighbour as self — apart from fear of retaliation etc? Where does moral government come from beyond might and manipulation make ‘right’? That is a far deeper issue.

    In short, I pointed to the pivotal issue: grounding, at world-root level.

    That is, OUGHT is grounded in root reality, IS, unless it is ultimately a delusion that we find ourselves under the binding duties of OUGHT (as opposed to the IS of how we may actually behave).

    Where, such a pervasive delusion would bring us straight into general delusion and collapse of rationality. Such may be set aside on grounds that we have far more confidence in our rationality than in a notion that would undermine it. And in fact, we cannot live on the premise of grand delusion.

    Why should we acknowledge others to be as we are, of similar value and holding parallel rights to expect respect is itself an issue, pointing to our ultimate nature. To world-roots.

    Linked, why should we respect their rights claims beyond fear of retaliation is an issue that sets aside nihilism and also points deeper.

    Where, our choices at root level are infinite regress, circularity or an ultimate. Circularity and infinite regress fail and force us to look to the question of the ultimate. (And onwards, comparative difficulties across major alternatives: factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power being three key points here.)

    Which is the point of the question, the IS that grounds OUGHT.

    And, on ontological, cosmological, moral and other considerations, the candidate to beat, is patently of ultimate significance and relevance: the inherently good Creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of ultimate loyalty and of the reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    (Onlookers: A candidate, BTW, for which it is not to be overlooked that no objectors have put up a serious alternative.)

    KF

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    DRC, a good test case. Why OUGHT we to act towards neighbour with an intent to cherish and nurture, instead of doing what we can readily get away with. KF

  35. 35
    Brent says:

    I only have a moment and haven’t read all replies yet, but . . .

    I think an easy way to see that the Golden Rule is not morality itself is to take any one of the moral imperatives and flip it. So, say that selfishness is moral instead of unselfishness. Would the Golden Rule change? No. We would simply think that being selfish was a part of doing unto others . . .

    Look at, for instance, basketball and American football. They both have rules that say you must not go out of bounds. The GR equivalent would be, say, “Don’t step on the white line”. But that would hold equally for both sports, while in fact the lines are drawn in quite different places respectively. “Don’t step on the white line,” however, isn’t the rule itself, but only an easy maxim to help one know how to abide by the rule in any situation.

  36. 36
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: I am highlighting that your provided definition is not a lock-up.

    1. The standard usage of anarchy in political science is “absence of government”, consistent with other such terms, such as monarchy, oligarchy, ochlocracy.

    2. You failed to clarify your usage. You provided a bunch of definitions without saying which one you meant.

    3. Your usage in your cubic analysis seems to be inconsistent, with anarchy meaning one thing on one dimension, another on a different dimension.

    kairosfocus: have pointed out, no state, no law, no leadership as the relevant anarchic states on each axis.

    You’ve also agreed that you can have a state without law, such as a king who makes decisions on a case-by-case basis, Solomon-style. If it’s a monarchy, then it’s not anarchy!

    an-arch, no ruler
    mon-arch, one ruler

    We’ve suggested a few changes that would make your cubic analysis coherent, but you don’t seem to have your listening ears on.

    drc466: He asks you why, again. What do you tell him?

    We might appeal to empathy. “How would you feel if someone treated you that way?” However, that only works if the person actually feels empathy, if they place a value on others.

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, The dictionaries cited suffice to make my point. Absence of a state is anarchic indeed, but one can have law and leadership (especially on the way to state formation). I long since indicated that my usage was primarily shaped by history. Once I realised that there would be confusions, I switched to the more specific but unusual term and suffix to fit in with that. Ponder the call made to Samuel the Priest and guardian of the Mosaic legal tradition [law and settlement with leaders emerging from time to time in response to crisis but no institutionalised state: every man did what was right in his own eyes . . . ], for a king; which was actually cited when I quoted the warning he made on how abusive and oppressive a king would become. KF

    PS: A Monarchy would be a state, an emerging leader who draws a following towards a state is not the same. And if a monarch rules by decree that is a form of law — indeed, cases brought to a monarch sitting as judge [think, I appeal from lower magistrates to Caesar’s seat of Judgement, maybe 9 years after Gallio’s ruling and precedent] are for the purpose of adding to the corpus of law, oral and/or written. An autocratic emerging leader (for instance) can exist in a situation without an existing legal tradition, or in one where there is. If you have enough institutionalisation to have clan elders, convocations of same and oral, customary standard rulings on cases, you have oral law and oligarchy but not a unified state.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, appeals to empathy, historically, have not been sufficient to ground OUGHT enough to develop or restore the civil peace of justice. Do not forget that there have been within living memory in highly established states, of law that outlawed people deemed subhuman and made them targets of genocide. And empathy is an appeal to relativist, subjective opinion, notoriously inadequate as an IS grounding OUGHT. What ones experience and empathy can do is to open one’s eye to see the force of the moral government of ought and what it implies, but that is a very different matter. KF

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Justinian’s Institutes, Bk I, Of Persons; from the built-in textbook in Corpus Juris Civilis (as in, a clue as to why I have spoken of a corpus of law as opposed to a Constitution):

    _____________

    >>II. Natural, Common, and Civil Law.

    The law of nature is that law which nature teaches to all animals. For this law does not belong exclusively to the human race, but belongs to all animals, whether of the earth, the air, or the water. Hence comes the union of the male and female, which we term matrimony; hence the procreation and bringing up of children. We see, indeed, that all the other animals besides men are considered as having knowledge of this law. [–> Note, example no 1 of law of nature]

    1. Civil law is thus distinguished from the law of nations. Every community governed by laws and customs uses partly its own law, partly laws common to all mankind. The law which a people makes for its own government belongs exclusively to that state and is called the civil law, as being the law of the particular state. But the law which natural reason appoints for all mankind obtains equally among all nations [–> defines law of nature in a legal context and draws out how lawfulness is the application of enlightened reason to circumstances of moral government and support of the civil peace of justice], because all nations make use of it. The people of Rome, then, are governed partly by their own laws, and partly by the laws which are common to all mankind. We will take notice of this distinction as occasion may arise.

    2. Civil law takes its name from the state which it governs, as, for instance, from Athens; for it would be very proper to speak of the laws of Solon or Draco as the civil law of Athens. And thus the law which the Roman people make use of is called the civil law of the Romans, or that of the Quirites; for the Romans are called Quirites from Quirinum. But whenever we speak of civil law, without adding the name of any state, we mean our own law; just as the Greeks, when “the poet” is spoken of without any name being expressed, mean the great Homer, and we Romans mean Virgil.

    The law of the nations is common to all mankind, for nations have established certain laws, as occasion and the necessities of human life required. Wars arose, and in their train followed captivity and then slavery, which is contrary to the law of nature; for by that law all men are originally born free. Further, by the law of nations almost all contracts were at first introduced, as, for instance, buying and selling, letting and hiring, partnership, deposits, loans returnable in kind, and very many others.

    3. Our law is written and unwritten, just as among the Greeks some of their laws were written and others were not written. [–> this is the E, Gk-speaking remaining part of the Roman Empire, 535 AD] The written part consists of leges (lex), plebiscita, senatusconsulta, constitutiones of emperors, edicta of magistrates, and responsa of jurisprudents [i.e., jurists].

    4. A lex is that which was enacted by the Roman people on its being proposed by a senatorian magistrate, as a consul. A plebiscitum is that which was enacted by the plebs on its being proposed by a plebeian magistrate, as a tribune. The plebs differ from the people as a species from its genus, for all the citizens, including patricians and senators, are comprehended in the populi (people); but the plebs only included citizens [who were] not patricians or senators. Plebiscita, after the Hortensian law had been passed, began to have the same force as leges.

    5. A senatusconsultum is that which the senate commands or appoints: for, when the Roman people was so increased that it was difficult to assemble it together to pass laws, it seemed right that the senate should be consulted in place of the people.

    6. That which seems good to the emperor has also the force of law; for the people, by the Lex Regia, which is passed to confer on him his power, make over to him their whole power and authority. Therefore whatever the emperor ordains by rescript, or decides in adjudging a cause, or lays down by edict, is unquestionably law; and it is these enactments of the emperor that are called constitutiones. Of these, some are personal, and are not to be drawn into precedent, such not being the intention of the emperor. Supposing the emperor has granted a favor to any man on account of his merit, or inflicted some punishment, or granted some extraordinary relief, the application of these acts does not extend beyond the particular individual. But the other constitutiones, being general, are undoubtedly binding on all.

    7. The edicts of the praetors are also of great authority. These edicts are called the ius honorarium, because those who bear honors [i.e., offices] in the state, that is, the magistrates, have given them their sanction. The curule aediles also used to publish an edict relative to certain subjects, which edict also became a part of the ius honorarium.

    8. The answers of the jurisprudenti are the decisions and opinions of persons who were authorized to determine the law. For anciently it was provided that there should be persons to interpret publicly the law, who were permitted by the emperor to give answers on questions of law. They were called jurisconsulti; and the authority of their decision and opinions, when they were all unanimous, was such, that the judge could not, according to the constitutiones, refuse to be guided by their answers. [–> Corpus Juris was drafted as a pruned, somewhat Christianised synthesis at Imperial direction, by Jurisconsults]

    9. The unwritten law is that which usage has established; for ancient customs, being sanctioned by the consent of those who adopt them, are like laws.

    10. The civil law is not improperly divided into two kinds, for the division seems to have had its origin in the customs of the two states, Athens and Lacedaemon. For in these states it used to be the case, that the Lacedaemonians rather committed to memory what they observed as law, while the Athenians rather observed as law what they had consigned to writing, and included in the body of their laws.

    11. The laws of nature, which all nations observe alike, being established by a divine providence, remain ever fixed and immutable. But the laws which every state has enacted, undergo frequent changes, either by the tacit consent of the people, or by a new law being subsequently passed.>>
    _____________

    I trust this provides some further context of my thought, and a context that is still very much live today in jurisdictions that base law on Roman Law directly or through the further synthesis of Napoleon — including IIRC Louisiana in the USA due to its French roots. Also, Guyana in the Anglophone Caribbean, likely due to Dutch influence . . . I failed to inquire specifically on that when I was informed, many years past.

    The new Caribbean Court of Justice has some very interesting influences and currents.

    KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N 2: The opening words of the Institutes, too often omitted in online presentations thereof:

    _______________

    >>Prooemium

    In the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ

    The Emperor Caesar Flavius Justinian, conqueror of the Alamanni, the Goths, the Franks, the Germans, the Antes, the Alani, the Vandals, the Africans, pious, prosperous, renowned, victorious, and triumphant, ever august,

    To the youth desirous of studying the law:

    The imperial majesty should be armed with laws as well as glorified with arms, that there may be good government in times both of war and of peace, and the ruler of Rome may not only be victorious over his enemies, but may show himself as scrupulously regardful of justice as triumphant over his conquered foes.

    With deepest application and forethought, and by the I blessing of God, we have attained both of these objects. The barbarian nations which we have subjugated know our valour, Africa and other provinces without number being once more, after so long an interval, reduced beneath the sway of Rome by victories granted by Heaven, and themselves bearing witness to our dominion. All peoples too are ruled by laws which we have either enacted or arranged. Having removed every inconsistency from the sacred constitutions, hitherto inharmonious and confused, we extended our care to the immense volumes of the older jurisprudence; and, like sailors crossing the midocean, by the favour of Heaven have now completed a work of which we once despaired. When this, with God’s blessing, had been done, we called together that distinguished man Tribonian, master and ex-quaestor of our sacred palace, and the illustrious Theophilus and Dorotheus, professors of law, of whose ability, legal knowledge, and trusty observance of our orders we have received many and genuine proofs, and specially commissioned them to compose by our authority and advice a book of Institutes, whereby you may be enabled to learn your first lessons in law no longer from ancient fables, but to grasp them by the brilliant light of imperial learning, and that your ears and minds may receive nothing useless or incorrect, but only what holds good in actual fact. And thus whereas in past time even the foremost of you were unable to read the imperial constitutions until after four years, you, who have been so honoured and fortunate as to receive both the beginning and the end of your legal teaching from the mouth of the Emperor, can now enter on the study of them without delay. After the completion therefore of the fifty books of the Digest or Pandects, in which all the earlier law has been collected by the aid of the said distinguished Tribonian and other illustrious and most able men, we directed the division of these same Institutes into four books, comprising the first elements of the whole science of law. In these the law previously obtaining has been briefly stated, as well as that which after becoming disused has been again brought to light by our imperial aid. Compiled from all the Institutes of the ancient jurists, and in particular from the commentaries of our Gaius on both the Institutes and the common cases, and from many other legal works, these Institutes were submitted to us by the three learned men aforesaid, and after reading and examining them we have given them the fullest force of our constitutions.

    Receive then these laws with your best powers and with the eagerness of study, and show yourselves so learned as to be encouraged to hope that when you have compassed the whole field of law you may have ability to govern such portion of the state as may be entrusted to you.

    Given at Constantinople the 21st day of November, in the third consulate of the Emperor Justinian, Father of his Country, ever august.

    Book I
    Title I
    Of Justice and Law

    Justice is the set and constant purpose which gives to every man his due. Jurisprudence is the knowledge of things divine and human, the science of the just and the unjust.

    Having laid down these general definitions, and our object being the exposition of the law of the Roman people . . . >>
    _______________

    If this sounds in many respects like what we see in Alfred’s Book of Dooms and even in US Founding Documents, it should.

    KF

    PS: Of course the question always is to what extent was the Roman Law Christianised, and to what extent was relevant Christian ethics compromised.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    FYI, Avi Sion — always worth a read or two: http://www.thelogician.net/ — on the IS-ought issue:

    ___________

    http://www.thelogician.net/6_r.....ter_07.htm

    >>Hume questions the possibility of deriving prescriptive statements, which tell us what we ought to do or not do, from descriptive statements, which tell us the way things are or are not. The distinction between these two sorts of statement is in his opinion so radical that one cannot be reduced to the other. This means effectively that moral or ethical propositions have no formal basis in fact, i.e. they cannot be claimed as true in an absolute sense. There is no logical way, in his view, to deduce or induce an “ought” from an “is”.

    Prescriptive statements are then, according to Hume, at best just practical advice on how to pursue our self-interest and the interests of the people we value (or more broadly, sympathize or empathize with). This is a kind of pragmatism or utilitarianism, in lieu of heavier moral notions of duty or obligation. In this way, ethics is made essentially amoral – an issue of convenience, a mere description of the ways we might best pursue our arbitrary values. The implication is one of relativism and convention . . . .

    The issue raised is primarily formal. What are prescriptive propositions and how do they relate to descriptive ones? The obvious answer to the question would be that prescriptions relate ends to means. I ought to do (or not-do) this if I want to (or not-to) obtain or attain that. The ‘ought’ (or ‘should’ or ‘must’) modality is essentially the bond in a specific kind of if-then proposition, with a desire or ‘value’ as antecedent and an action or ‘virtue’ as consequent.

    Such if-then propositions are not themselves descriptive, but are deductively derived from descriptive forms. When we say “if we want so and so, then thus and thus is the way to get it”, we are affirming that “thus and thus” is/are cause(s) of “so and so”[2]. The latter is a factual claim, which may be true or false. It follows that the prescriptive statement can also be judged true or false, at least in respect of the correctness of the connection implied between its antecedent and consequent . . . .

    But how can we ever know whether any of our values are valuable in an absolute sense? This is Hume’s query, and it is quite valid. But his conclusion that values are formally bound to be arbitrary (i.e. cannot be deduced from plain facts) is open to challenge.

    Our task is to show that we can arrive somehow at categorical imperatives[3], i.e. ethical standards that can ground and justify all subsequent conditional imperatives. One conceivable way to do so is to use a dilemmatic argument: ‘Whether you want this or that or anything else, the pursuit of so and so would in any case be a precondition’.

    Something is an absolute value if it is necessary to the pursuit of any and all arbitrary values one personally opts for. A relative value can be by-passed in the pursuit of other relative values, but an absolute value is one presupposed in every pursuit and must therefore be respected unconditionally.

    Are there any such absolute values? Clearly, yes. An obvious such value is life itself: if one lacks life, one cannot pursue anything else; therefore life must be protected and enhanced. Another absolute value is the self – if the soul is the source of all our actions, good or bad, then the soul’s welfare is an absolute value. Whatever one wants, one needs the physiological and psychological means that make such pursuit at all possible – viz. one’s bodily and mental faculties. And most of all, one needs to be present oneself!

    These are obvious examples. What do they teach us? If we wish to understand, use and validate ethical propositions, we have to realize what makes all such discourse possible and necessary. A simple illustration and proof of that is that if I tell you ‘don’t follow any ethical doctrine’, I am uttering an ethical doctrine, and therefore committing a self-contradiction.

    Ethical propositions do not apply to inanimate objects. They apply only to living beings, because only such entities have anything to win or lose. But to apply them to all living beings is not correct, for though plants, insects and lower animals can objectively be said by us to have values, their functioning is either automatic or instinctive, and they cannot understand or voluntarily apply ethics . . . . to engage at all in ethical discourse, humans have to study and take into consideration their nature, their true identity. They have to realize their biological and spiritual nature, the nature of their physical-mental organism and the nature of their soul. Moreover, since biology and spirituality relate not just to the individual in isolation, but to larger groups and to society as a whole – ethics has to be equally broad in its concerns.

    If this large factual background is ignored in the formulation of ethical propositions, one is bound to be arbitrary and sooner or later fall into error.>>
    ____________

    In short, much more there than meets the superficial eye or what one looking for a handy quip would desire.

    Ethics is irreducibly complex (and sometimes abstruse) and engages issues as to whether we are responsibly free, have essential natures, have generic purpose and particular calling (that stuff a bout a right of pursuit of happiness) and more.

    And in a civil society context, the civil peace of justice is right in the middle of these issues.

    Food for thought,

    KF

  42. 42
    tintinnid says:

    KF: “Ask, why OUGHT we to recognise, respect, love and treat neighbour as self — apart from fear of retaliation etc? Where does moral government come from beyond might and manipulation make ‘right’? That is a far deeper issue.”

    Yes, fear of retaliation is one aspect of it. But I notice that you conveniently ignore the possibility of reciprocity. My neighbour is more likely to respect my property if I respect his. We have brains that allow us to reason. I know that I am more likely to lead a pleasant existence if I am pleasant towards others. It’s not rocket science.

    How we behave in society will influence how we are treated. I don’t see any IS-OUGHT gap here.

    [snip-language warning, KF]

    Are you serious? The term I used is not considered bad language. It is just a different way of saying “nonsense”. But it’s your OP and your rules. I will respect them.

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    TT: I abide by the broken window theory. Opening the door a crack to those inclined to pull discussion down into a sewer in a highly contentious context is not sound. KF

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    TT: We may invite reciprocity, but in fact such and remonstrance are too often not enough, and do not serve as a ground for OUGHT. The only thing that will fill the required bill of characteristics post Euthyphro [is the good merely the caprice of the gods backed up by their will to power or is it independent of the gods? . . . ], is an IS that is necessary, is world-foundational and inextricably intertwines both IS and OUGHT or more properly the goodness that is the fountainhead of ought; this points to necessary, maximally great and root of being. It is not just Hume who lurks in these waters. KF

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N 3: Cicero in his The Laws, echoing Plato’s method of a dialogue on The Laws, opening remarks in which he goes to the heart of law and lawfulness:

    ____________

    http://www.nlnrac.org/classica.....de-legibus

    >> . . . M: And indeed correctly. For recognize that in no subject of argument are more honorable things brought into the open: what nature has granted to a human being, how many of the best things the human mind encompasses, what service we have been born for and brought into light to perform and accomplish, what is the connection among human beings, and what natural fellowship there is among them. When these things have been explained, the source of laws and right can be discovered.

    [17] A: So you don’t think that the discipline of law should be drawn from the praetor’s edict, as many do now, or from the Twelve Tables [archaic set of basic Roman laws], as earlier men did, but from within the profoundest philosophy?

    M: In fact, Pomponius, in this conversation we are not seeking how to safeguard interests in law [ius], or how to respond to each consultation. That thing may be a great matter, and it is, which formerly was undertaken by many famous men and is now undertaken by one man of the highest authority and knowledge [Servius Sulpicius]. But in this debate we must embrace the entire cause of universal right and laws, so that what we call civil law [ius] may be confined to a certain small, narrow place. We must explain the nature of law [ius], and this must be traced from human nature. We must consider laws by which cities ought to be ruled. Then we must treat the laws [ius] and orders of peoples that have been composed and written, in which what are called the civil laws [ius] of our people will not be hidden.

    [18] Q: Truly, brother, you trace deeply and, as is proper, from the fountain head of what we are asking about. Those who hand down the civil law [ius] differently are handing down not so much ways of justice as ways of litigating.

    M: That is not so, Quintus: ignorance of the law [ius] is conducive to more lawsuits than knowledge of it. But this later; now let us see the beginnings of law [ius].

    Therefore, it has pleased highly educated men to commence with law—probably correctly, provided that, as the same men define it, law is highest reason, implanted in nature, which orders those things that ought to be done and prohibits the opposite. The same reason is law when it has been strengthened and fully developed in the human mind. [19] And so they think that law is prudence, the effect of which is to order persons to act correctly and to forbid them to transgress. They also think that this thing has been called [from] the Greek name for “granting to each his own,” whereas I think it comes from our word for “choosing.” As they put the effect of fairness into law, we put the effect of choice into it. Nevertheless, each one is appropriate to law. But if it is thus correctly said, as indeed it mostly and usually seems to me, the beginning of right should be drawn from law. For this is a force of nature; this is the mind and reason of the prudent man; this is the rule of right and wrong. But since our entire speech is for the people’s business, sometimes it will be necessary to speak popularly and to call that a law which, when written, consecrates what it wants by either ordering [or forbidding], as the crowd calls it. In fact let us take the beginning of establishing right from the highest law, which was born before any law was written for generations in common [corrupt text here] or before a city was established at all . . . >>
    ____________

    Law as the rule of justice in light of our evident nature, evident to the rational, responsibly free, which properly guides conduct. Which is then more or less well echoed in our understanding and legislation or rulings, precedents etc.

    Whence, the general respect for the corpus of decisions rendered across time as embodying more or less a working replica.

    But, open to genuine reform, not the mere push and pull of might and manipulation make ‘right.’

    KF

  46. 46
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Absence of a state is anarchic indeed, but one can have law and leadership (especially on the way to state formation).

    Yes.

    kairosfocus: And if a monarch rules by decree that is a form of law

    By that standard, your dimensions are not independent. In any case, if a monarch rules each case ad hoc, then it is not law as normally construed.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, many monarchs did not/do not play the absolutist tyrant, historically they tend to fit with oligarchic systems and bodies of law accumulated much as Justinian’s Jurisconsults summarised . . . often, based on that very work. And yes, across time decrees necessarily will frame a legal system as the need for precedent and delegation arises, but that is down the line from rule by decree case by case that begins the process. Actually Exodus 18, famously, shows that in action, with the Israelites — though Moshe had been trained as a prince of Egypt. KF

  48. 48
    sean samis says:

    drc466 @24

    1) What is the foundation for the GR, other than “sounds good to me?” …

    Sounds good to me” is nothing like the GR. “Sounds good to me” is “Do unto others as you please”; not “… as you want them to do unto you.” Based on your other examples, you don’t understand the GR.

    2) “Reciprocity” fails as a moral foundation, for the simple reason that no two people want the same thing for themselves. …

    Again: you don’t understand the GR. It’s not about what people want or prefer; the GR is about what people need or need to avoid.

    There is no moral requirement to engage in conversation or to remain silent. Obviously it’s wrong for one person to badger another for anything less than necessity. Again, if you actually understood the GR you’d not pose such irrelevant or trivial questions.

    3) The GR fails to define morality at a group level, and at the “tough love” level. How do you impose a system of punishment as “morally good”…

    You overlook the facts. If only the criminal’s position is considered (or only the victim’s), then no system of punishment is morally tenable. But the full truth is that none of us would want someone who harmed us to escape unpunished, so reciprocity demands we accept punishment if we do wrong.

    5) The GR misses an entire subset of IS-OUGHT considerations. What about when no other individual is involved? …

    Animals are “other individuals”; their life-needs are as considerable to us as the life-needs of other humans. The moral quandary of eating animals has no easy answer. Even Christians struggle with that one. I am sure you have a definite answer, but many Christians do not.

    As for the infliction of harm on one’s self, unless you are a hermit there are others whose lives are affected by your actions; the GR commands consideration of their welfare.

    Likewise, since no sane person would want to be abandoned to their fate if they became mentally ill, the GR commands that society not do so.

    All that said, if our lives are ours, then those who desire to harm themselves and whose sanity is not otherwise in doubt (if such a thing is even possible) have the right to do with themselves as they wish.

    @31, you asked a question ending with:

    He asks you why. You tell him he should follow the GR. He asks you why, again. What do you tell him?

    Since it’s well established that you don’t understand the GR, let me explain: I’d tell my friend that that if I lost this wallet I’d want it returned, and so would he in that situation. None of us can expect others to return our wallet to us if we are not willing to return their wallet to them.

    You might tell him he should obey the bible and return it. He asks you why, again. What do you tell him?

    The GR is not an OUGHT. An OUGHT is still necessary, unless you think no-one in the world will ever ask you, “Why?”

    We ought to do what’s right because we cannot expect others to do right if we are not willing to do it ourselves. That’s just another way of rendering the GR.

    sean s.

  49. 49
    sean samis says:

    tintinnid @32

    DRC466, how is your IS-OUGHT gap any different if there is an “objective” moral OUGHT mandated by god?

    It’s really not.

    And that’s not to mention that there is NO OBJECTIVE MORAL RIGHT unless God tells this to you face-to-face. Otherwise it is just the opining of other humans.

    sean s.

  50. 50
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @29,

    The problem is that [the GR] itself is not foundational, it is not a world-root IS that grounds OUGHT.

    You have said things to this effect many times and in many different ways, but the factual nature of our human needs is as foundational as anything can be. You ask this question many times and they mean nothing greater than what I propose. An obligation founded in the reality of the human condition is as well-grounded as any could be.

    Ask, why OUGHT we to recognise, respect, love and treat neighbour as self — apart from fear of retaliation etc?

    tintinnid answered this well @42.

    We ought to recognize, respect, love, and treat our neighbors well because that encourages them to do the same to us. Reciprocity and the GR is not about fear of retribution as much as it’s about setting a good example for others.

    Where does moral government come from beyond might and manipulation make ‘right’? That is a far deeper issue.

    Moral government comes from doing what’s right because it is right and because we want others to do right. The GR councils doing right not out of fear of retaliation but because we cannot expect others to treat us better than we treat them; we do good to encourage others to do likewise.

    @44, kairosfocus replied to tintinnid:

    We may invite reciprocity, but in fact such and remonstrance are too often not enough, and do not serve as a ground for OUGHT.

    This requires an explanation. It makes no sense. Appeals to God’s moral commands have proven inadequate quite often.

    Continuing @29, kairosfocus wrote,

    But at this point we see that we have not bridged from IS to OUGHT at world-foundation level.

    I think, in this matter you are seeking after something that really does not matter that much. These distinctions may matter to ivory tower types, but in the rough and tumble of real life, they matter little or not at all. Reciprocity and the GR bridge the is-ought gap quite well.

    @33 kairosfocus wrote,

    …why should we respect their rights [of others] beyond fear of retaliation is an issue that sets aside nihilism and also points deeper.

    Forget retaliation. We should respect our neighbors’ rights because we cannot hope to have ours safe if theirs are not. That is not fear of retaliation; it is recognition of our mutual interests.

    (Onlookers: A candidate, BTW, for which it is not to be overlooked that no objectors have put up a serious alternative.)

    This is flatly false. You spend much time commenting on my suggestion; that shows it is a serious option. You don’t like it, but that’s just your preference.

    @34 kairosfocus wrote,

    … a good test case. Why OUGHT we to act towards neighbour with an intent to cherish and nurture, instead of doing what we can readily get away with.

    Because that is how we want to be treated (to be cherished and nurtured), and how we want others to behave; so we are obligated to act that way ourselves.

    sean s.

  51. 51
    sean samis says:

    Brent @35

    I think an easy way to see that the Golden Rule is not morality itself is to take any one of the moral imperatives and flip it. So, say that selfishness is moral instead of unselfishness. Would the Golden Rule change? No. We would simply think that being selfish was a part of doing unto others . . .

    Two things:

    1. The GR is not a full morality of itself; I’ve never said it was. I’m prepared to discuss that if you like.
    2. If you flip moral imperatives then even the theistic rule will fail. If selfishness is regarded as mandated by God, then selfishness will be morally required.

    Look at, for instance, basketball and American football. They both have rules that say you must not go out of bounds. The GR equivalent would be, say, “Don’t step on the white line”…

    Since the GR is about reciprocity, the GR in basketball or football would be a rule that both teams have to follow all the rules.

    sean s.

  52. 52
    drc466 says:

    ss @48,

    I initially had a much longer post, where basically I point out that your responses never answer the question, “why is reciprocity ‘right'” (to use your word). However, I deleted most of it so as not to lose focus on my main response, kept here:

    In fairness, ss, I believe I understand your viewpoint – my axioms are “God IS” and “The Bible is His Word”, while your axiom is “reciprocity is a good thing”. Where we will have to agree to disagree, though, is that I am pretty sure I can provide significant evidence and support for both of my axioms, while I don’t believe you can for yours – because you don’t even have an objective definition of good. Which is the missing OUGHT.

  53. 53
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: many monarchs did not/do not play the absolutist tyrant

    Nonetheless, it’s not anarchy.

    That doesn’t address the issues we raised with your cubic analysis. We even numbered the points so you couldn’t miss them.

    1. The standard usage of anarchy in political science is “absence of government”, consistent with other such terms, such as monarchy, oligarchy, ochlocracy.

    2. You failed to clarify your usage. You provided a bunch of definitions without saying which one you meant.

    3. Your usage in your cubic analysis seems to be inconsistent, with anarchy meaning one thing on one dimension, another on a different dimension.

    You’ve also agreed that you can have a state without law, such as a king who makes decisions on a case-by-case basis, Solomon-style. If it’s a monarchy, then it’s not anarchy!

    an-arch, no ruler
    mon-arch, one ruler

    We’ve suggested a few changes that would make your cubic analysis coherent, which you have also ignored.

  54. 54
    sean samis says:

    drc466, I appreciate your comments @52. For myself, I am very doubtful about both of your axioms. But that is a discussion for another time.

    I do have a definition of ‘good’ but it never came up before in this thread.

    I don’t think there is any OBJECTIVE definition of ‘good’ THAT WE KNOW OF. You may think your definition is objective, but only because that is your subjective preference. It’s not objective just because you are really, really sure it is.

    Only a god would be able to tell me the objective definition of ‘good’, and no god has ever spoken to me. Everything I know about gods comes from humans whom we should not trust too much.

    Let me repost (with a few edits) something I’ve posted on this site before:

    A Rational Moral System

    First of all, I prefer the term rational moral system, not “materialistic …” and I will refer to it that way here.

    The “materialistic” beginnings of a moral system are very basic: we are material, living creatures who are vulnerable to injuries, age, ignorance, and other weaknesses. Nature has made us social creatures that generally do best living in stable communities. We are capable of acquiring some knowledge and some foresight. All simple facts.

    Theists frequently assert that if there were no deity, there could be no morality. But it is useful to flip that over: given the moral systems we have, if there are no deities, where did these moral systems come from? Absent any deity, they are most likely the product of tens of thousands of years of experience humans have dealing with the problems of living together in families, clans, tribes, and communities.

    Differences in moral systems can be understood simply as the different solutions different cultures came up with to solve the moral issues that all human communities experience. Rational persons have come to expect natural processes to be characterized by a certain degree of variation. Absent any deity the process of creating moral systems is entirely natural.

    Many people focus on the differences between these various moral systems and determine that there’s little useful to learn from their comparisons. Others focus on the things these moral systems do have in common and find the basis of a rational, debiased “natural law” system. I favor that last approach myself.

    There occurs a long, complex story of comparative religion, psychology (how the mind works) and sociology (how humans and communities behave). This forum does not need the burden of that here, only the results matter here.

    The net result:

    I believe there are just two basic rules to any valid, rational moral system:

    1. Do No Evil. (Evil is defined below).
    2. Do unto others that which you would have them do unto you. This is the Golden Rule, of course

    Evil is any act with respect to another person which
    1. causes or threatens to cause Harm,
    2. is Intentional and
    3. is Unnecessary.

    Harm: any physical injury, financial loss, or impairment of liberty; or a substantial risk of any of these against the express consent of the one harmed or placed at risk.

    Intentional: includes premeditation, recklessness, or unreasonable negligence.

    Unnecessary: not justified by mitigation or prevention of other, greater harms or injustice; nor justified by the uncoerced and knowing consent of the one harmed.

    There was a time when I would add at this point that this morality “probably covers more than 80% of genuine evil”. But so far, no one has ever given me an example of some obviously evil act that would escape these rules, so now I will say that these rules cover more than 90% of all genuine evil.

    It is a good starting point. I do not claim it is complete. Suggestions will be considered.

    Having defined Evil, what is Good? Good is a category of not-evil behaviors and results which are not generally definable beyond saying that good is a non-overlapping set with evil. What is evil is never good, what is “good” for X might not be “good” for Y. Obviously there can exist a large category of behaviors and results which are not clearly good, but are not evil.

    Objective definitions of “good” are a mirage because even things that seem obviously good (necessities like food, water, air, shelter, security) can become not-good by being excessive or restricting or otherwise harmful. Which leaves us with: what makes something “good” simply has no generally applicable, objective answer; every person has a right (a liberty) to decide that for themselves. As long as they Do No Evil, they have a right to decide for themselves what is the good.

    Definitions of “good” are usually reducible to “something not bad”. Generally that is a good-enough definition. There is a reason that the most commonly shared moral concepts are best characterized as “Thou shalt not”s. It is often clearer to simply determine what to avoid or prohibit than to try to list all the things we must or should do.

    Worse yet, seeking an “objective” definition of good is often a pretext to evil: “objective good” can be used as a weapon with which to deprive others of their liberties (which is a harm). Compelling others to do things because someone claims these things are “objectively good” is a key to tyranny. Forbidding evil behaviors is clearer and less prone to abuse.

    This is as far as I am going to go for now. If I had more time, I’d write something briefer. Most of the above is just cut and paste with a bit of editing to clean it up or fit it to the context of this thread. Basically, this is nothing new.

    Please notice that none of this relies on or even considers “personal preferences”. Morality is not about wants, it’s about needs.

    I invite your comments.

    sean s.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, I would suggest that anarchy (and much as I already clipped from relevant dictionaries) implies absence of state, effective framework of law, and accepted or de facto leadership. That is no effective governmental services [note my emphasis], leading to chaos. Absence of one or more of these factors is anarchic, but not as bad as the case where all three are missing. And, as I put it a monarch ruling by decree is not equal to an absence of law. The monarchy implies presence of leadership, may imply at least first elements of a state sector, and power of decree would imply at least emerging law, though that may well be tyrannical. That is sufficient for relevant purposes. KF

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    SS,

    First, rational is not a synonym for materialistic, indeed it can be shown that materialism is self-referentally incoherent.

    Next, the issue is to ground not to articulate, OUGHTNESS.

    What is harm, what is evil, why i/l/o what they are, are they unacceptable, ought-nots?

    Why should X acknowledge SS’ scheme of ought-nots, and obey them? To earn brownie points from SS and those like him? To hopefully avoid retaliation? To seek to spark reciprocity?

    Especially, where X has enough power that SS’ views can be brushed aside, what claim do they have on X?

    (In short you are implicitly assuming what you need to ground: why we are under moral government of OUGHT. You seem to acknowledge the government, but have no adequate foundation for it. To adequately ground it, you need a world-foundational IS . . . something that is necessarily there if a world IS, and which is simultaneously a source of good and ought. Otherwise, you will forever be bringing in a groundless OUGHT, in effect begging the question.)

    KF

  57. 57
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: I would suggest that anarchy (and much as I already clipped from relevant dictionaries) implies absence of state, effective framework of law, and accepted or de facto leadership.

    So it requires all three, and that means that each dimension can’t have an end-point in anarchy. Your cubic analysis is inconsistent.

    kairosfocus: That is no effective governmental services [note my emphasis], leading to chaos.

    In political theory, anarchy is not the same as chaos. Such positions include anarcho-capitalism and anarcho-communism, for instance.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, why do you continue to insist on something that is not so, actually never was given that I spoke to states on three distinct specific scales? (I long since conceded that a confusion was possible and so chose a much less common word to mark the distinction more clearly and modified the diagram, as has been repeatedly stated to you, to absolutely no effect.) KF

    PS: Likewise where did you ever get the idea that I suggested or said that a monarch ruling by decree represents an anarchic state rather than the opposite end of the scale, i.e. law based on decree? (I would take it that decrees have legal force in areas where a monarch holds effective power. We may not like the how of the law but that is law not its absence.)

  59. 59
    mugwump3 says:

    Took a lot longer than anticipated to get through all of the comments and some of the links, but I’d like to contribute an albeit abridged reply to those commenters and fellow lurkers who might be content to ground their version of the GR in “Rational” moralism. I’d echo the defenders of an objective Lawgiver and the resulting categorical imperatives. Grounding one’s morality in the hope of fairness that the GR will magically or “karmically” produce reciprocity does not then also justify one’s oughtness. This is really only glorified selfishness…yes, I know the charge has been made that Christian morality is also based on a fear of punishment, but that charge is groundless…and uniquely so in Judeo-Christianity….I’ll get to that.

    DRC466 made my point in part by asking by whose OUGHT should we operate…the introvert or the extrovert…the stoic or the hedonist…is the hermit safe from the GR? I’d suggest going no further than today’s politics to prove the point. We find three great examples of groundless morality wreaking havoc on modern society.

    The theory was posed that ethics/societal GR laws are a product of history and comparative analysis of cultures…that a community evolves through survival to apply consensus when approaching morality…or better consensus of cultures on what “evil” ought to be avoided to live together.

    Three examples:

    Abortion- both sides of the argument believe themselves to be following the GR. Pro-abortionists would appeal to the universal freedom of choice. To prevent a woman from having an abortion would violate the GR. Pro-lifers would argue that one cannot have choice without first having the right to life, and simple volitional choice is constrained in many ways in a republic of laws, especially one grounded as KF has more than adequately demonstrated…murder being one of the biggies constrained by law!

    LGBTQ…/redefinition of marriage- both sides again believe themselves to be following the GR. Pro-alternative lifestyle folks would conjure something reduced to, at best, “live and let live”, and, at worst, “all behavior is equally moral/amoral.” To deny or disapprove of anything outside of male/female reproductive sexuality violates their GR. Those opposed to anti-hetero behavior argue that family as defined by the “live and let live” is destroyed, and society will soon follow….further that their GR would require they seek to help those in an anti-hetero situation as the behavior is viewed as sado-masochistic…that they would also wish others would help them out of their sado-masochistic behavior. Of course, logically, if survival is the grounding for GR, then all non-hetero behavior is, at base, anti-evolutionary, as no progeny equals extinction…no society…no GR to glean…and, therefore, evil…at least according to above “rational moral” view.

    Marxism- Throngs of brainwashed kids are flocking to Bernie Sanders’ unabashed Socialist flag-flying. Marxist GR would be “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.” Marx grounded his GR on an oughtness, a twisted pseudo-scientific rationale, to be sure. The supporter would argue that it’s right or not evil to take the fruits of another man’s labor, especially for survival, while the one who’s property is taken would argue that this violates his own GR in that he has a right to keep what he has earned from his labors. I realize that I’m oversimplifying here, but the point is quite clear.

    If you cannot ground your GR in an objective truth, subjectivity breeds disagreement, dissenting opinions on who’s GR is the right GR, as DRC466 was pointing out.

    Back to the selfishness in Christian morality. KF mentioned it, but I’ll expand slightly on this point. Christianity has two modes of existence after death: eternity with God, eternity without God. Our behavior, our assent to a moral code has no bearing on which condition we will find ourselves. We do not fear Hell in the sense that a murderer fears death row or torture. The root of the Christian message is that Christ paid the penalty that, without that payment, would have meant that ALL would be eternally separate from God…ALL would have fallen short having done what we thought was good in our own eyes, in our own sophisticated little GR. A Christian’s “rewards” are a resultant perseverance while still in this world, a conscious act of conforming our will to God’s Will because we desire it, not out of fear or selfishness but of thanksgiving and graciousness.

    It was asked why should the wallet finder’s friend be convinced just because the God of the Bible says so. One poster here said he would need God to come to him face-to face and tell him what’s what. My belief in the Bible is derived in the main from calls to authenticity by prophesy….the only way besides a face-to-face that has any true validation.

    God agrees with your skepticism.

    Modern man has been content to seek out wisdom and knowledge from ancient texts, to rely on them for building up societies and their expression of their GR. Would you deny the prophesies of the Bible the same respect? In one-way linear time, God gave many men words of predictive authentication. They objectively predicted events in very specific terms, terms that, if found to be objectively untrue, would be objective proof worthy of incredulity and stoning. So, assumptions over the subjectivity of Christianity is objectively groundless…unless you would choose to deny all of history simply because it didn’t happen to you, face-to-face.

    I would agree with the poster that much of the emanations from modern GRs across the world are found to be universal, to have been separately derived in disparate cultures. God agrees with that as well. Natural law is said to have been “written on the hearts of man.” Written, but not grounded on man. Man is but that which has been written upon. And, we choose to base our oughts quite often on what we think is good in our own eyes.

    The hermit busy in the woods cutting off his leg for pleasure is still doing evil even if he believes he wouldn’t ever interfere if he one day came upon another hermit doing the same.

  60. 60
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: why do you continue to insist on something that is not so, actually never was given that I spoke to states on three distinct specific scales?

    Because your cube shows “three distinct specific scales” in three distinct specific dimensions. Otherwise, there’s no point to the diagram.

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel,

    irrelevant to my query.

    In response to your collective’s earlier point I adjusted to clarify, shifting — within a day IIRC — to the rarer word, anarchic.

    Precisely to imply that separately:

    (a) absence of state power is of like character to and trends towards full anarchic chaos aka anarchy,

    (b) absence of law is similarly but distinctly is of like character to and trends towards full anarchic chaos aka anarchy,

    (c) absence of effective overall political leadership in a relevant zone, similarly but also distinctly is of like character to and trends towards full anarchic chaos aka anarchy.

    I hope your collective can see the balance I am seeking to achieve: a three-legged stool if you will. It can with difficulty not totally collapse with loss of one or two legs, but cannot stand if all three are knocked out.

    And loss of even one leg tends to male it fall.

    I have shown, or can reasonably point out that each is distinct, but tends towards the same effect, and that as each aspect moves to anarchic state the degree of anarchic chaos credibly increases, culminating in a case where all three are in that state, ending then at the repeller pole.

    The dynamical element is then that there is a tendency to rebound towards the vortex of tyranny.

    And yes, the whole model I put up indicates that tyrannical domination is a strong tendency of political systems that has to be deliberately, collectively resisted and restrained, especially in the face of crisis or chaos.

    It is in that context that I am pointing out that limited, constitutional democratic government, broader governance and leadership have to be nurtured and guarded, to stabilise it against that tendency.

    And, I am implying that that requires a concerned, virtue-minded public characterised by people that share a common identity/heritage, are literate, informed by a free, diverse and responsible press [and I give print priority], soundly understand relevant history, civics and underlying worldviews issues.

    Especially in a day when such are under relentless attack by ruthless radical agendas.

    KF

  62. 62
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: irrelevant to my query.

    Your query? You posted a cube, which shows “three distinct specific scales” in three distinct specific dimensions. After nine days of discussion, you now claim that, even though your cube shows “three distinct specific scales” in three distinct specific dimensions, that you aren’t talking about “three distinct specific scales”.

    kairosfocus: (a) absence of state power is of like character to and trends towards full anarchic chaos aka anarchy,

    Absence of state power is anarchy, by definition. In political science, anarchy isn’t necessarily chaotic, such as in anarcho-capitalism.

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    MW3:

    Thanks for making an effort to work through and respond.

    I would suggest that two many radical proposals turn on their being no morally governed core responsible freedom and stable nature for humanity.

    My response pivots on Lincoln: saying the tail of a sheep is a leg and insisting, therefore a sheep has five legs and you are an ignoramus or worse to question the redefinition, is patent folly.

    A tail cannot properly function as a leg as it hath not the characteristics or nature of a leg.

    Yes, sometimes, saying A is A is an important thing to do when many are caught up in the press of the demand that NOT-A be accepted as A.

    Just so, playing at word games, manipulation, pushing agendas under false colour of law and intimidation of those who question or object are collectively a march of folly.

    Yet another.

    The poor deluded sheep who surrenders one of his real legs in hopes of using the tail as a leg is doomed to fail.

    Word magic cannot work in the face of hard reality, but it may well lead the manipulated into a march of folly that someone hopes to profit from.

    It is time for sound thinking.

    And BTW, in the Jidaeo-Christian context, one of the reasons why the GR is set in the prior context of another moral principle of like order — to love and serve the inherently good Creator God whole-heartedly and whole-mindedly — is that it sets response to the needs and claimed rights of neighbour in the light of our evident nature as responsibly free embodied human beings created in family (male, female, husband, wife, mother, father and children) for community and nationhood under God.

    Notice, Jesus said that the Law and the Prophets hung on BOTH these commandments.

    VJT makes a key point in a parallel thread that in effect as God is the necessary being root of reality, without him, there is no reality of a world with morally governed creatures, so no world to then talk about anything goes amorality.

    The is-ought gap issue goes deep indeed.

    To the root of reality.

    KF

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, you just set up and knocked over a strawman caricature of what I have said. And still you do not acknowledge that in interests of clarity I shifted usage to a rarer but key word for the scales, anarchic something like eight days back once I realised that the original diagram was prone to misinterpretation or misunderstanding, also putting in a point on the state scale, the fair-minded state with a citation of Magna Carta that amplifies. I suggest that any definitional authority that holds that absence of an institutional state and so of its power equals anarchy is wrong. There is no current international state with global power and there is no recognised global political leader [never mind what some may think of the UN . . . ] but a corpus of international law with roots in ius gentium shows that the situation is not anarchy, aka the chaotic war of all against all with shifting coalitions from moment to moment to gang up against the latest victim. To an extent it is anarchic, trending to break down, but it is not anarchy. Similarly, at national level, there may be bodies of oral or even written law restraining outright anarchy in the face of absence or breakdown of state power and recognised leadership. But in such inherently unstable conditions, the trend is for someone to want to seize power and create a state apparatus that gives unrestricted control, usually in the name of restoring order. KF

  65. 65
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: you just set up and knocked over a strawman caricature of what I have said.

    Our objection is with your cube. You have admitted that even though your cube shows “three distinct specific scales” in three distinct specific dimensions, you aren’t talking about “three distinct specific scales”. Your cubic analysis is consequently incoherent, and certainly doesn’t replace the standard political spectrums as you claimed elsewhere.

    Apparently, it’s just a sweep of the hand diagram, and not meant to be considered as an actual analysis.

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel,

    the strawman caricature and predictable rhetorical pummelling based on word games predictably continue.

    I draw your attention again to what you have not conceded to date, that on realising that an objector could misunderstand, I changed terms to use a rarer but more precise term for what I wanted to communicate.

    As I just summarised:

    In response to your collective’s earlier point I adjusted to clarify, shifting — within a day IIRC — to the rarer word, anarchic.

    Precisely to imply that separately:

    (a) absence of state power is of like character to and trends towards full anarchic chaos aka anarchy,

    (b) absence of law is similarly but distinctly is of like character to and trends towards full anarchic chaos aka anarchy,

    (c) absence of effective overall political leadership in a relevant zone, similarly but also distinctly is of like character to and trends towards full anarchic chaos aka anarchy.

    I hope your collective can see the balance I am seeking to achieve: a three-legged stool if you will. It can with difficulty not totally collapse with loss of one or two legs, but cannot stand if all three are knocked out.

    And loss of even one leg tends to male it fall.

    I have shown, or can reasonably point out that each is distinct, but tends towards the same effect, and that as each aspect moves to anarchic state the degree of anarchic chaos credibly increases, culminating in a case where all three are in that state, ending then at the repeller pole.

    The dynamical element is then that there is a tendency to rebound towards the vortex of tyranny.

    And yes, the whole model I put up indicates that tyrannical domination is a strong tendency of political systems that has to be deliberately, collectively resisted and restrained, especially in the face of crisis or chaos.

    It is in that context that I am pointing out that limited, constitutional democratic government, broader governance and leadership have to be nurtured and guarded, to stabilise it against that tendency.

    And, I am implying that that requires a concerned, virtue-minded public characterised by people that share a common identity/heritage, are literate, informed by a free, diverse and responsible press [and I give print priority], soundly understand relevant history, civics and underlying worldviews issues.

    And again (with examples):

    still you do not acknowledge that in interests of clarity I shifted usage to a rarer but key word for the scales, anarchic something like eight days back once I realised that the original diagram was prone to misinterpretation or misunderstanding, also putting in a point on the state scale, the fair-minded state with a citation of Magna Carta that amplifies. I suggest that any definitional authority that holds that absence of an institutional state and so of its power equals anarchy is wrong. There is no current international state with global power and there is no recognised global political leader [never mind what some may think of the UN . . . ] but a corpus of international law with roots in ius gentium shows that the situation is not anarchy, aka the chaotic war of all against all with shifting coalitions from moment to moment to gang up against the latest victim. To an extent it is anarchic, trending to break down, but it is not anarchy. Similarly, at national level, there may be bodies of oral or even written law restraining outright anarchy in the face of absence or breakdown of state power and recognised leadership. But in such inherently unstable conditions, the trend is for someone to want to seize power and create a state apparatus that gives unrestricted control, usually in the name of restoring order.

    Dictionary:

    CED:
    -ic
    suffix forming adjectives
    1. of, relating to, or resembling See also -ical: allergic; Germanic; periodic.
    2. (Elements & Compounds) (in chemistry) indicating that an element is chemically combined in the higher of two possible valence states Compare -ous2: ferric; stannic.
    [from Latin -icus or Greek -ikos; -ic also occurs in nouns that represent a substantive use of adjectives (magic) and in nouns borrowed directly from Latin or Greek (critic, music)]

    AmHD:

    an·ar·chic (?n-är?k?k) or an·ar·chi·cal (-k?-k?l)
    adj.
    1.
    a. Of, like, or supporting anarchy: anarchic oratory.
    b. Likely to produce or result in anarchy.
    2. Lacking order or control: an anarchic state of affairs in the office; an anarchic mobile sculpture.
    an·ar?chi·cal·ly adv.

    I think that the reasonable and reasonably attentive person can see what is going on, and why I have had to say this is a strawman fallacy being insisted upon because of underlying hostility to the dynamic analysis being offered, not any grave fault in the dynamics and underlying insights on history itself.

    This is of course reflective of the much wider pattern of all too common objector behaviour in the debates over design theory: distractive red herrings, led away to strawman caricatures, typically soaked in ad hominems and ignited in ways that cloud, confuse poison and polarise the atmosphere for discussion and understanding.

    KF

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers, observe how the historic significance of Alfred’s Book of Dooms has been noticeably side-stepped in the comments. KF

  68. 68
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: I draw your attention again to what you have not conceded to date, that on realising that an objector could misunderstand, I changed terms to use a rarer but more precise term for what I wanted to communicate.

    Yes, but it doesn’t save your cubic analysis from incoherence.

    kairosfocus: (a) absence of state power is of like character to and trends towards full anarchic chaos aka anarchy,

    In political science, anarchy is *defined* as the absence of state power.

    Anarchy is not another name for chaos.

    kairosfocus: (b) absence of law is similarly but distinctly is of like character to and trends towards full anarchic chaos aka anarchy,

    No. The absence of law is not necessarily anarchy. A government making all decisions ad hoc is not based on law, but is not anarchy.

    Anarchy is not another name for chaos.

    kairosfocus: (c) absence of effective overall political leadership in a relevant zone, similarly but also distinctly is of like character to and trends towards full anarchic chaos aka anarchy.

    Absence of political leadership is not necessarily anarchy. A pure democracy has no political leadership, but is not anarchy.

    Anarchy is not another name for chaos.

    The cube shows “three distinct specific scales” in three distinct specific dimensions. Yet, we know the scales are not independent, because they all have anarchy at one end. In addition, you have stated that all three have to be set to anarchy, for the society to be in anarchy, when the diagram clearly shows it only takes one scale to be anarchy. That’s why it is incoherent.

    Elsewhere, you claimed that this renders the standard political spectrums obsolete, which isn’t the case, even if the cubic analysis wasn’t incoherent. The egalitarian-hierarchical (left-right) scale is still of paramount importance in modern society. Just consider the difference in say over global decisions between the average American and a farmer in, say, Malawi.

  69. 69
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @56

    First, rational is not a synonym for materialistic, indeed it can be shown that materialism is self-referentally incoherent.

    Rational is not a synonym for materialistic; agreed. Materialism is not incoherent in any particular way. If you think it is, you’ll need to explain that.

    What is harm, what is evil, why i/l/o what they are, are they unacceptable, ought-nots?

    I’ve defined harm and evil in my comment #54. Did you not read it?

    Why should X acknowledge SS’ scheme of ought-nots, and obey them? To earn brownie points from SS and those like him? To hopefully avoid retaliation? To seek to spark reciprocity?

    This question applies to any moral system. X should acknowledge my scheme because it is reasonable, understandable, and leads to desireable behaviors and outcomes.

    Why should X acknowledge your scheme? If X can deny both schemes, that cannot make one worse than the other.

    Especially, where X has enough power that SS’ views can be brushed aside, what claim do they have on X?

    This question applies to any moral system. If X has enough power, X can brush aside anyone’s views. If X can disobey both schemes, that cannot make one worse than the other.

    To adequately ground it, you need a world-foundational IS . . . something that is necessarily there if a world IS, and which is simultaneously a source of good and ought.

    I have done that: in the facts of the human condition.

    kairosfocus @67

    Onlookers, observe how the historic significance of Alfred’s Book of Dooms has been noticeably side-stepped in the comments.

    Onlookers, observe how the significance of knowledge and reason are supposedly trumped by the out-date views of a more-than-thousand year old book. Have we learned nothing new since? Are our lives still enslaved to the ideas of people who lived 50 generations ago?

    sean s.

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, at this point you are repeating dismissive talking points claiming an incoherence that is demonstrably not there. As in what I have spoken to is on the table with live examples. (And BTW, in former centuries Locke cited kings as being in state of nature wrt the international arena.) KF

    PS: Rule by decree is a way of making law that is substandard under current circumstances and tends to be tyrannical, but it is one way to begin to build up a corpus of law; historically it is not merely ad hoc. As Justinian’s Institutes as already cited show.

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    SS,

    Though not a main focus of this thread, I will for the moment simply point out that the built-in incoherence of evolutionary materialism is well known, cf here in context for one facet.

    Reppert brings out more on the ways a materialist account of mind becomes self-referentially incoherent by undermining logical inference itself:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [[But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [[so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    Later, on other points.

    KF

    PS: I’ll add that the Book of Dooms lies at the historic roots of the Common Law system, the foundation of modern liberty and democracy as developed in both the US and the British realms, and as a crucial facet embeds the principle of neighbour love. Just for starters.

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: On roots and understanding of anarchy.

    The Greek prefix AN- is one of denial, NOT +.

    The Greek word ARCHOS means: leader, ruler, master.

    That is, anarchy speaks to absence of rulership primarily, with other linked absences being concomitant.

    Wikibooks has an anarchist FAQ:

    https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Anarchist_FAQ/What_is_Anarchism%3F/1.1

    The word “anarchy” is from the Greek, prefix an (or a), meaning “not,” “the want of,” “the absence of,” or “the lack of”, plus archos, meaning “a ruler,” “director”, “chief,” “person in charge,” or “authority.” Or, as Peter Kropotkin put it, Anarchy comes from the Greek words meaning “contrary to authority.” [1]

    While the Greek words anarchos and anarchia are often taken to mean “having no government” or “being without a government,” as can be seen, the strict, original meaning of anarchism was not simply “no government.” “An-archy” means “without a ruler,” or more generally, “without authority,” and it is in this sense that anarchists have continually used the word. For example, we find Kropotkin arguing that anarchism “attacks not only capital, but also the main sources of the power of capitalism: law, authority, and the State.” [2] For anarchists, anarchy means “not necessarily absence of order, as is generally supposed, but an absence of rule.”[3] Hence David Weick’s excellent summary:

    “Anarchism can be understood as the generic social and political idea that expresses negation of all power, sovereignty, domination, and hierarchical division, and a will to their dissolution. . . Anarchism is therefore more than anti-statism . . . [even if] government (the state) . . . is, appropriately, the central focus of anarchist critique.”[4]

    For this reason, rather than being purely anti-government or anti-state, anarchism is primarily a movement against hierarchy. Why? Because hierarchy is the organisational structure that embodies authority. Since the state is the “highest” form of hierarchy, anarchists are, by definition, anti-state; but this is not a sufficient definition of anarchism. This means that real anarchists are opposed to all forms of hierarchical organisation, not only the state. In the words of Brian Morris:

    “The term anarchy comes from the Greek, and essentially means ‘no ruler.’ Anarchists are people who reject all forms of government or coercive authority, all forms of hierarchy and domination. They are therefore opposed to what the Mexican anarchist Flores Magon called the ‘sombre trinity’ — state, capital and the church. Anarchists are thus opposed to both capitalism and to the state, as well as to all forms of religious authority. But anarchists also seek to establish or bring about by varying means, a condition of anarchy, that is, a decentralised society without coercive institutions, a society organised through a federation of voluntary associations.” [5]

    Reference to “hierarchy” in this context is a fairly recent development — the “classical” anarchists such as Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin did use the word, but rarely (they usually preferred “authority,” which was used as short-hand for “authoritarian”) . . .

    In short, the self-understanding here from its roots as a movement defining its identity on, is primarily against rulers, whether in a state or in another major power centre, church or capital being explicitly identified. Thus, implying too, absence of leadership, state and law as characteristic of full bore actualised anarchy.

    (All of this being consistent with the classic, notorious cartoon.)

    Of course, this is all deeply ill-advised and would lead to chaos not harmony, rapidly rebounding into the vortex of tyranny.

    It also points to how radicals self-identifying as leftist and against hierarchy or for radical equality, often seek to trigger crisis, breakdown of credibility and power of existing centres of governance and leadership. But the very necessary hierarchy of revolutionary organisations and rebel armies with their manifest pattern of major leadership, direction and control foreshadows the historically warranted predictable outcome if the revolution overthrows existing rulers: seizure of power by a new, typically ruthlessly nihilistic emerging power class.

    With reigns of terror typically waiting in the wings.

    And with ruthless in-fighting leading to the revolution eating its children and a tendency of power to end up in the hands of the most cunningly ruthless and well organised.

    In short, this case confirms the 3-D mapping exercise and further shows the irrelevance of categorising politics on seating arrangements of long ago European legislatures.

    KF

    PS: The test is misbehaving, here refusing to accept that 7 x 3 = 21.

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    SS:

    I will note on points:

    >>Rational is not a synonym for materialistic; agreed. Materialism is not incoherent in any particular way. If you think it is, you’ll need to explain that.>>

    1 –> Done, over and over, cf. here on for instance.

    >> [KF:] What is harm, what is evil, why i/l/o what they are, are they unacceptable, ought-nots?

    [SS:] I’ve defined harm and evil in my comment #54. Did you not read it?>>

    2 –> My emphasis just now should show that I am pointing to the foundational issues, which were in my mind, not adequately addressed at 54 . . . which I highlight differently and annotate, to bring this out:

    I believe there are just two basic rules to any valid, rational moral system:

    1. Do No Evil. (Evil is defined below).
    2. Do unto others that which you would have them do unto you. This is the Golden Rule, of course

    Evil is any act with respect to another person which
    1. causes or threatens to cause Harm,
    2. is Intentional and
    3. is Unnecessary.

    [3 –> note the acts of judgement and axiologically loaded evaluations, ought here is being displaced not rooted. Besides, ever so many radicals and oppressors deem what would otherwise be unacceptable on the premise of ends justifying means . . . a nihilistic credo. Solzhenitsyn quoted the Gulag’s operatives as speaking in terms of needing to crack eggs to make an omelette]

    Harm: any physical injury, financial loss, or impairment of liberty; or a substantial risk of any of these against the express consent of the one harmed or placed at risk.

    [4 –> but, why are such objectionable or unacceptable? Why would consent make a difference, other than by way of opening the door to the sort of manipulated demand where in a notorious story, the hitmen sent to target a fellow Communist, first worked him over to demand that he consent that his own death was required for the good of the party. In a case I knew of, a man tried to hire a hitman, and on agreeing the gunman asked, who? Me. The gunman retorted that the man was sick and sent him to see a well known psychologist. All of the factors listed are pregnant with deeper oughts, again pointing to foundational issues.]

    Intentional: includes premeditation, recklessness, or unreasonable negligence. [–> Again, implicitly loaded and pointing onward.]

    Unnecessary: not justified by mitigation or prevention of other, greater harms or injustice;>>

    [5 –> Notice the iteration to the next, deeper level of oughtness? Note the issue of injustice with all that brings in? In short, circular or infinite regress or finitely remote root in an IS at world-root level that grounds OUGHT.]

    nor justified by the uncoerced and knowing consent of the one harmed.>> [–> again, and again]

    >>[KF:] Why should X acknowledge SS’ scheme of ought-nots, and obey them? To earn brownie points from SS and those like him? To hopefully avoid retaliation? To seek to spark reciprocity?

    [SS:] This question applies to any moral system. X should acknowledge my scheme because it is reasonable, understandable, and leads to desireable behaviors and outcomes.>>

    6 –> My question is again pointing to roots, your answer in effect concedes that all schemes need roots. But that is my point.

    7 –> Your scheme either terminates in an ungrounded circle or else trails off with an ellipsis implying infinite regress.

    8 –> The challenge remains, the world-root IS that grounds OUGHT.

    >>[SS:] Why should X acknowledge your scheme? If X can deny both schemes, that cannot make one worse than the other.>>

    9 –> I would think the chain of warrant question is well known to be there for any core issue, and the choices are [a] circularity that begs the question [including by arbitrary trailing off], [b] infinite regress [not traversible by the finite and fallible, so you don’t get to warrant anything in particular], or [c] finitely remote first plausibles that stand up to comparative difficulties (which answers to question-begging]

    10 –> Of the three only C, worldviews with roots in finitely remote first plausibles that stand up to comparative difficulties across coherence, factual adequacy and balanced explanatory power [neither an ad hoc incremental patchwork forever fixing further leaks nor a simplistic scheme that locks out what dos not fit] is tenable. And that tenability is dynamic and held in the context of dialogue.

    11 –> Here, the issue is that we find ourselves under binding moral government i/l/o justice, good vs evil and rights etc (and under pain of the fallacy of grand delusion radically undermining rationality if we rule such delusional).

    12 –> On its face, such demands grounding, rootedness, foundations.

    13 –> Where also, as Hume highlights, OUGHT cannot just be pushed in arbitrarily IS, IS IS . . . presto, OUGHT, OUGHT; it must come in at a natural point or not at all.

    14 –> This points again to c, and as ontological issues of being are always primary, to the need for a world-root IS that adequately grounds OUGHT.

    15 –> The candidate to beat — note, comparative difficulties — is precisely as repeatedly described: the inherently good Creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    16 –> In Boethius’ terms: if evil is how then can God be, but if not God how then can good be. Where, a better understanding of evil is: the twisting, privation, frustration of the good out of fulfillment of purpose.

    17 –> So, for instance, murder robs one of life and frustrates achieving purpose in life; robbing of liberty turns one into an instrument for another’s agenda frustrating fulfillment of one’s own end; slander does much the same by arbitrarily destroying credibility in a context where as social, rational, conversing beings we need to work together to mutually fulfill purpose; rape is a violation of the proper purpose of a woman’s sexuality and involves robbing her of responsible freedom in that matter; genocide carries murder up to the level of a people or the like, etc.

    18 –> Necessary being is at the root of reality, as first if ever there were an utter nothing — non-being — as such can have no causal capacity such would forever obtain, so there always was something which is unconditioned at the root of reality that is adequate for a world to be-come.

    19 –> The issue is of what nature.

    20 –> And, in a world that shows fine tuning and FSCO/I in many ways, design sits at the table as of right, pointing to purpose and agency.

    21 –> Where, moral government points to being an adequate root of good. This points to a maximally great and inherently good being as root of reality. Such has all great-making an no lesser making properties.

    22 –> A necessary, maximally great being would be inextricably involved in the root of any actualised world, such as our own, where also a serious candidate necessary being [composite, contingent beings etc need not apply] will be either impossible or possible and if possible in some possible world. Thus as necessary in every actual or possible world. (To see this, try to conceive of a world without twoness.)

    23 –> In short, such a serious candidate will be either impossible or actual. (Such is also the force of the famed S5 axiom.)

    24 –> Note, we here must differentiate epistemic and ontological priority.

    25 –> We can know ourselves to be under moral government prior to coming to conclusions regarding the root of such moral government, but the actual existence of a world in which such government of OUGHT exists, requires an ontologically prior adequate root.

    26 –> A serious candidate now sits at the table. Let us see if another at world-root level can be produced. (Don’t hold your breath.)

    >> [KF:] Especially, where X has enough power that SS’ views can be brushed aside, what claim do they have on X?

    [SS:] This question applies to any moral system. If X has enough power, X can brush aside anyone’s views. If X can disobey both schemes, that cannot make one worse than the other.>>

    27 –> On the contrary, I have pointed to the vast difference between might and manipulation makes ‘right’ and adequate grounding of OUGHT in a world-root IS. Thus:

    >> [KF:] To adequately ground it, you need a world-foundational IS . . . something that is necessarily there if a world IS, and which is simultaneously a source of good and ought.

    [SS:} I have done that: in the facts of the human condition.>>

    28 –> As shown, not.

    >> [KF:] Onlookers, observe how the historic significance of Alfred’s Book of Dooms has been noticeably side-stepped in the comments.

    [SS:] Onlookers, observe how the significance of knowledge and reason are supposedly trumped by the out-date views of a more-than-thousand year old book. Have we learned nothing new since? Are our lives still enslaved to the ideas of people who lived 50 generations ago?>>

    29 –> First, truth by the clock, on the myth of progress and too often the conceit of our contemporary superiority.

    30 –> If in fact we have a morally governed core common nature that expresses equality of worth, dignity, rights and right to claim justice . . . implicit in much of what you SS have said above — then there will be enduring moral premises and principles that govern us, which may well be anciently discerned.

    31 –> For illustration, and as an exercise in reasoning with neighbour and not stumbling the blind, let me clip Moshe on the Neighbour-Love principle, c 1440 BC:

    Lev 19:9 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

    11 “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. 12 You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.

    13 “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. 14 You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

    15 “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life[a] of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

    17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. [ESV]

    32 –> Of course, in dismissing an old book that happens to lie at the root of the Common Law tradition on which modern democracy was built by the English-speaking peoples, there is an implicit dismissal of history.

    33 –> In reply, I say that the sound lessons of history were bought with blood and tears so that those who disregard, ignore or dismiss them doom themselves to pay the same price again to learn what could have been had for the simple price of being willing to heed the lessons of the past.

    34 –> Further to this, we can take it as proved that indeed the Book of Dooms shows how the root of the Common Law tradition literally begins from the Judaeo-Christian heritage as peoples who came to the Christian faith sought to ground fair government under a sound corpus of law [and in so doing, incorporated the Golden rule from Jesus, Paul and Moshe].

    35 –> Then, later on in 1215 (yes, 800 years ago) it would be Samuel Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury who would pen in the Magna Carta, that to no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay, right or justice. Where, indeed many specifics have been superseded, but in this there is the root of parliamentary government, recognition of rights of the free and more.

    36 –> I have also already shown how Justinian’s Institutes mark a significantly (but not completely) Christianised synthesis of 1,000 years of Roman Law in 535 AD nigh on 1500 years past, a body that underlies law in a great part of the world. Indeed when Japan sought to modernise, it adopted the corpus.

    37 –> So, no, in fact it is not enslavement to look to long established insight on lawfulness, it may be instead — by virtue of expressing enduring insights rooted epistemically in costly history — our hope for soundly grounding liberty and justice.

    KF

  74. 74
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: at this point you are repeating dismissive talking points claiming an incoherence that is demonstrably not there.

    Yes, your diagram is incoherent for reasons already provided.

    kairosfocus: As in what I have spoken to is on the table with live examples.

    We asked for examples from the eight corners. You provided two, sufficient to define a line, not a cube.

    kairosfocus: Rule by decree is a way of making law that is substandard under current circumstances and tends to be tyrannical

    Perhaps, but doesn’t address the point. It represents a non-anarchical non-lawful system, something your cube both allows but rules out. That’s why your analysis is incoherent.

    You are showing a three separate scales, which, because they are drawn in three-dimensions, should be independent. However, they all have an extreme in anarchy, showing they are not independent. Furthermore, you say that anarchy only occurs when all three scales are towards one side, which contradicts the diagram. That’s what makes it incoherent.

    If you wanted to make it more rational, you might try to organize it like this:

    State power: weak to strong, anarchy to absolute
    Lawfulness: weak to strong, arbitrary to rigid
    Leadership: weak to strong, diffuse to autocratic

    Notice each dimension is a gradation from weak to strong, each shows an independent aspect of social organization, each dimension is independent, and consequently, we can find examples on any corner of the cube. For example, a king who rules on every case ad hoc would be low on lawfulness, high on leadership, and could be either weak or strong in terms of government power. Or, we might have a pure democracy so leadership is diffuse, and it might work by law, or it might work by deciding each issue ad hoc as it arose, community meetings every night. And so on.

    Again, this doesn’t replace the standard political spectrums, but isn’t necessary inconsistent with them either.

  75. 75
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: For this reason, rather than being purely anti-government or anti-state, anarchism is primarily a movement against hierarchy.

    1. Then it is indistinguishable from the egalitarian-hierarchical left-right spectrum, which you claimed you were replacing.

    2. More particularly, if anarchy is equated to hierarchy, then there could be no such thing as anarcho-capitalism. But there is, so your understanding is inconsistent with how the term is generally used.

    3. You have anarchy on all three of your dimensions, so you still have a problem with your diagram.

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel,

    you are simply repeating, again. I have demonstrated that the framework as given in the OP is not contradictory and that it applies to real world cases. Including, the international case of law [and even courts] with neither global ruler nor global state, which in former centuries Locke pointed to as a state of nature situation for kings.

    As for the eight corners point, I spoke long since to the two PLANES, indicating the implications of absence of ruler and autocratic rulers — the former is anarchic and tends towards a rebound towards order, the latter sets up a slide to tyranny. Surely that by definition takes in the eight corners and your collective is again shown to be unresponsive.

    I would suggest that rule by decree is in fact making law, admittedly by a system inferior to modern democracy. However, in circumstabces before C17 – 19, modern democracy was arguably not feasible for want of a literate informed public and vigorous free press etc. (All, as discussed long since, the unresponsiveness continues.)

    Next, in the teeth of my repeatedly pointing out that to clarify meaning I turned to the rarer word anarchic, and then pointed to cumulative impact of such conditions (which are demostrably separable) I find you still saying that the scales end in the word “anarchy”.

    A simple scroll up will show, not so.

    I had thought originally that with points on a distinct scale the differences should have been clear but they were not for you. Hence my change.

    A lack of state power is anarchic, so is absence of law [and that is different from lawmaking by decree . . . one whose suitably given word is law cf. Justinian’s Institutes as excerpted], so is absence of leader/ruler in a zone of relevance. They may separately obtain or not obtain, so they are substantially distinct enough to be distinct dimensions.

    Any one is chaotic in impact, two, worse, all three cumulatively untenable to the point of being a repeller pole that tends to push panicked people to demand order at any price.

    All of this has been repeatedly pointed out, only to meet with non-responsiveness to the point now of beginning to look like closed minded intransigence.

    And, the discussion by anarchists I cited shows that anarchy is not to properly be equated to no government, your previous point.

    As for left vs right, again my fundamental objection remains that the whole scheme is undermined and discredited by its tendency for decades to classify a movement with a main examplar being the National Socialist German Workers Partuy, as right wing. On evidence given in previous threads — again brushed aside — the Nazis understood themselves to be and were understood as socialists, which will be of the left.

    The scheme collapses and is only relevant because people often talk in its terms, typically putting up rhetoric about equality as though that can prevail over the evidence that revolutions of left wing character typically put in a new ideological elite, they do not actually create or recognise fundamental equality.

    Animal Farm is a classic, in its conclusion when the ruling pigs host av dinner with relatives of the former owner: as the animals looked from man to pig and from pig to man, they realised that already there was no difference.

    Orwell had a serious point, as the recent exposure of Castro’s lifestyle by a former security officer reveals also.

    KF

  77. 77
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: I have demonstrated that the framework as given in the OP is not contradictory …

    Your explanations have been muddled, at best, such as equating anarchy with chaos.

    kairosfocus: As for the eight corners point, I spoke long since to the two PLANES, indicating the implications of absence of ruler and autocratic rulers

    There are three planes.

    kairosfocus: Surely that by definition takes in the eight corners and your collective is again shown to be unresponsive.

    Um, nope. If the dimensions are independent, as expected of a three diimensional spectrum, then there should be examples that fit into any of the eight corners.

    For example, a standard two-dimensional spectrum includes the egalitarian-hierarchical (left-right) axis, and the amount of government intrusion authoritarian-libertarian spectrum. Hence, we would expect to see points along the two dimensions, with libertarian left, authoritarian left, libertarian right, authoritarian right, and points in between.

    kairosfocus: I would suggest that rule by decree is in fact making law

    A decree can either be law or ad hoc. A law is a rule. If each question is decided on a case-by-case basis, then it doesn’t constitute a legal code. It’s possible to have orderly government that rules on all questions on a case-by-case basis.

  78. 78
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, anarchy will be chaotic, on all history. Indeed, even the threat of anarchy and accompanying chaos is enough to motivate people to panic and call for order at almost any price. Where, of course other circumstances can also be chaotic, there is not an equation. Next, I spoke to the planes of no leadership and autocracy, which gives the focal issue, leadership and the effect of the states with no effective leadership and with autocratic leadership. Measure the latter by the Reichstag fire and the panicked vote of an enabling act. A state with no leadership takes in the top four corners — the plane I highlight is not shaded in BTW. The bottom plane (darker shade) has autocratic leadership, with the other four corners. The specific dynamics at points in the two planes will vary depending on situation with state power and law, but the trend is already patent from either no leadership or autocratic leadership. Rule by decree is lawmaking [and this includes the case where a ruler serves as supreme judge and renders verdicts that have force of law . . . BTW what is happening with the increasingly oligarchic US Supreme Court], bearing in mind that law can be oral not just written, cf Justinian’s Institutes as already cited. And so forth. KF

    PS: Please note the way the anarchists are using hierarchy. That is what I am highlighting. I suspect there are different varieties, after all, anarchism will be intellectually anarchic and chaotic, I do not expect coherence on its part as an ideology. As a condition of an unfortunate region with no law, no state power and no effective leadership, anarchy gives rise to the proverbial “dark and bloody ground.”

    PPS: I just had quite a little discussion on Haitian history with the aid of the same diagram you would dismiss.

  79. 79
    Zachriel says:

    kairofocus: anarchy will be chaotic, on all history

    Given the standard definition of anarchy, absence of government:

    Humans lived without government for thousands of years, and for much of that time, at last in some places, people went about their business in relative order. Furthermore, many people hold the view that order can spontaneously occur without the necessity of government, such as anarcho-capitalism. Whether you agree or not is immaterial when discussing political philosophy.

    kairofocus: As a condition of an unfortunate region with no law, no state power and no effective leadership, anarchy gives rise to the proverbial “dark and bloody ground.”

    But your diagram shows anarchy on all three axis, and you’ve been provided counterexamples of non-anarchic systems without law, and non-anarchic systems without leadership, contrary to your diagram.

  80. 80
    sean samis says:

    A question for Barry Arrington, StephenB, kairosfocus, or any of their supporters:

    Do rocks owe moral duties to anything else?

    Since the claim is that “the TML [transcendent moral law] is grounded in God’s being” (BA); that “…OUGHT is grounded in root reality” (KF) this should mean that morality is foundational even to the mere matter of our universe.

    So rocks should owe moral duties because they are as bound by the TML, by the OUGHT as anything else.

    So: do rocks owe moral duties to anything/anybody else? If not, why not?

    sean s.

  81. 81
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @73

    Your writing in this is too convoluted for me to be sure even what your point is, but I think your objections to the moral system I suggest come down to your desire to see it “grounded in root reality”.

    Is that correct?

    sean s.

  82. 82
  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    SS,

    a rock is a mechanical entity not an agent — though materialism would reduce us to glorified rocks, expressing its amorality. It would also reduce our conscious awareness and responsible, rational freedom to delusion.

    Thus reducing itself to self-referential incoherence.

    As to the “convoluted” objection, it is unresponsive to what was shown, that your attempted basis fails.

    The only base that can adequately ground OUGHT is at world-root level. Your arguments do not go there and imply or outright show how they rely on further oughts.

    That was adequately shown.

    KF

  84. 84
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel,

    I already showed from the anarchists themselves and the roots of the term, that it is not just about absence of the state but absence of rule and that anarchism sees itself as opposed to power centres, especially in state, church and commerce.

    Repeating an error as though it were not corrected is unresponsive.

    Absence of state at some level is destabilising, as would be absence of law or leadership. With all three knocked out or absent, chaos strongly tends to occur.

    If you can identify an actual golden age of primitive communalism that was orderly, peaceful and secure from brigandage etc without institutionalising Clan leadership/warlords, a body of oral law to govern community and muster defenders etc, and without actual leaders turned to especially in emergency, do give the evidence.

    KF

  85. 85
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: anarchism sees itself as opposed to power centres, especially in state, church and commerce.

    Then there would be no such thing as anarcho-capitalists.

    If we accept your heterodox definition that anarchy means lack of power centres, that is, an even distribution of political power, your scales are still incoherent. Leadership just becomes a proxy for the distribution of power, while the other two scales still show the extreme as “anarchy”, which is not consistent with your definition. For instance, if Leadership is high on the scale, say, autocratic, we can still have low on the Lawfulness scale if every decision is ad hoc, but your cube shows it as “anarchy”. And we can have Leadership very low, which you define as “anarchy”, but have a working society based on pure democracy, with or without a legal code.

    There’s simply no way to make your cubic analysis work without revamping your system. But you don’t have your listening ears on.

    kairosfocus: Absence of state at some level is destabilising, as would be absence of law or leadership. With all three knocked out or absent, chaos strongly tends to occur.

    Your cube shows that if any of them are low, then it results in “anarchy”.

  86. 86
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, I wonder why you seem unable to acknowledge a change made over a week ago and repeatedly brought to your attention, complete with dictionary definitions of -ic and anarchic. Something is very wrong, as I explained why I made the change to a rarer word in order to be more clear. Your unresponsiveness does not speak well, and it makes me wonder how you would respond to things that are necessarily less directly evident than this. KF

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, Kindly note, I have cited the anarchists (and that is also informed by memory of an infamous longstanding anarchist/socialist cartoon I first noticed decades ago, cf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_of_Capitalist_System ). For anarchy, I suggest to you i/l/o dictionaries and root as cited, the primary reference is lack of rule[r], with implication of breakdown or absence of effective governance rooted in traditional power centres [typically, state, church, capital and even family], in hopes of emergence of a future, utopian communalism. Thus, a view of actual anarchy based on factors that reflect such a breakdown and cumulatively contribute to it, is reasonable. State power, law and leadership are such factors, and it would be reasonable to hold that full anarchy obtains where state, law and leadership have disintegrated or were not present. Loss or absence of each factor contributes [i.e. is anarchic], but each one is distinct. And the result of the three breakdowns or absences coming together is predictably chaotic and so repellent that even its threat is often enough to panic a public into accepting strongmanism to restore order. KF

    PS: “Governance” can be viewed as a broad term for the work and challenge of formal and informal leadership, co-ordination, influence or oversight, decision-making and direction of strategic actions in given situations. It applies to the state, to organisations, corporations, projects, movements or even to a community or region at large. It thus involves power balances, agendas of issues for focus and debate, resulting decision and action on proposed policies, carrying decisions forward to implementation (or blocking them) as factions contend in the face of circumstances, maintenance of order, degree of responsiveness to stakeholders and circumstances, fairness or justice issues, fraud/waste/abuse, accountability for results (or its lack) etc.

  88. 88
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: For anarchy, I suggest to you i/l/o dictionaries and root as cited, the primary reference is lack of rule[r], with implication of breakdown or absence of effective governance rooted in traditional power centres [typically, state, church, capital and even family], in hopes of emergence of a future, utopian communalism.

    Not all anarchists are communalists, as already pointed out many times.

    kairosfocus: I wonder why you seem unable to acknowledge a change made over a week ago and repeatedly brought to your attention, complete with dictionary definitions of -ic and anarchic.

    We have acknowledged the change, but it didn’t address the problems with your cubic analysis. Ignoring those objections doesn’t make them go away. From your responses, you probably can’t even restate those objections, much less answer them.

  89. 89
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, a simple scroll up will show the opposite to what you just said. I suppose it is something for you to admit the change at length. As for anarchists, I do not expect a coherent view though talk of some sort of communalism and voluntary carrying out of social services is probably typical. The reality of actual anarchy is very different. KF

  90. 90
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: a simple scroll up will show

    … that you have failed to address the problems with your cubic analysis.

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel, red herring and strawman. You have at length acknowledged the change to anarchic. I have no expectation on your track record that you will acknowledge that the framework has any utility. It was interesting to (knowing how it speaks to Jamaica’s case and the local one as well as many others) spend time yesterday discussing how it speaks to Haiti and Guyana. KF

  92. 92
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: You have at length acknowledged the change to anarchic.

    The usual definition of anarchic is “of, relating to, or advocating anarchy”. You really need to be more careful in your use of terminology. You already provided a definition of anarchy above, and it doesn’t salvage your analysis. Nor have you responded to the objections raised.

  93. 93
    kairosfocus says:

    Relating to — in this case, promoting or tending to, is quite good enough. So would be of the same character. KF

  94. 94
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: For clarity, image u/d b, with “Nil — Anarchic/SoN” to emphasise absence of state, or f/w of laws or leadership and its effect: anarchic or state of nature. I suggest the analogy of HIV infection and fill blown AIDS. The first is of like character, is a factor for but is not the same as the second. And, tends to it. KF

  95. 95
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @83

    a rock is a mechanical entity not an agent…

    I congratulate you on having the courage to answer this question. Others are not so brave.

    I take your answer as fairly summarized as “No, rocks owe no moral duty to anything because they lack ‘agency’”. If I am mistaken, please do correct me.

    Otherwise you and I agree completely on this specific question.

    But your raises another question: if morality must be foundational to the very roots of existence, to the world-roots level; and if morality is the imposition of an ‘ought’; then how can rocks be under the “government of ought” if they lack moral duties?

    If morality is fundamental to existence itself, and if rocks and other inanimate objects have no moral duties, what then creates a moral duty?

    As far as I can see, your insistence that morality be justified at a “world-roots level” serves no purpose, puts morality on no firmer footing, and inserts an inconsistency in your idea.

    sean s.

  96. 96
    sean samis says:

    The principle objection kairosfocus, Barry Arrington, and others have to my rational moral system (described @ 54) is that it is not grounded in “ultimate being” or “to the world-root level”. This complaint is also lodged against any alternative to a theistic “objective moral truth”.

    I will stipulate that my alternative is not grounded like that. And I assert that it need not be.

    My assertion is correct because this “requirement” is an unnecessary extravagance. No moral system (not even the Christian one, not even the “OMT”) can establish that it is so grounded, and no one has established that such grounding is necessary because it is not.

    Claims that theistic morality is grounded in “ultimate being” are just that: claims. Claims that morality needs grounding in “ultimate being” are, likewise, just claims. Ironically, these claims are themselves ungrounded.

    When we look at the idea of grounding morality in “ultimate being”, it becomes pointless.

    If a moral system is grounded in “ultimate being” then everything that exists is subject to the moral system.
    If moral systems create obligations for those subject to them, a moral system grounded in “ultimate being” imposes a moral obligation on everything that exists.

    Question: are inanimate objects (rocks, atoms, subatomic particles, etc.) under moral obligation? The consensus seems to be that this very idea is foolish. Some go so far as to declare this an Actual Stupid Question. Inanimate objects exercise no “agency”, they make no choices so they cannot respond to any “obligation”. These things just react to the forces of nature acting on them. Like Doh!

    But, if the base matter/energy and forces of our universe are not acting under any moral obligation, what is the purpose to claiming that morality must be grounded EVEN MORE DEEPLY THAN THESE? What is the purpose of requiring morality to be grounded in “ultimate being” so as to encompass all that exists, and then excusing all but a trace-part of the universe from any moral obligation?

    There is no practical or rational purpose to this; the purpose is purely RHETORICAL. This faux requirement creates the appearance of a need for a deity who is, by definition, the ultimate being, the world-root. Otherwise, this faux requirement serves no moral or rational purpose; it provides no moral or rational value; it makes no difference. If we jettison the idea, we lose nothing.

    If morality imposes no obligation except on those creatures capable of appreciating and responding to obligations, then morality needs no grounding deeper than the truth of those creatures’ nature and existence. Anything more is rationally and morally pointless.

    A rational, non-theistic morality can be grounded on the truth of human nature and existence. We are fallible, fragile, social creatures. Those facts, along with our possession of volition, knowledge, foresight, and reason make us able to appreciate and respond to moral obligations toward each other and toward other things in our universe.

    Whatever defects there may be in my proposed rational moral system, it is not any lack of sufficient grounding. The facts of our nature ground our moral obligations; that is all the grounding we need. It is sufficient to make a non-theistic “inter-subjective morality” as real and as effective as any moral system can be or has ever been.

    sean s.

  97. 97
    kairosfocus says:

    SS:

    Have you considered that rocks and other mechanical entities are governed by mechanical laws and that embodied agents will be governed by in addition moral and rational law in accord with their distinct nature?

    That, both sets of laws could trace to the same mind?

    This view is not novel or idiosyncratic, it is for instance pretty directly laid out in Newton’s General Scholium to Principia, the greatest single modern scientific work.

    Just scooping up a first key point.

    On the next point it is almost amusing but in the end sadly revealing that a point that answers to Hume’s attempt to put up an unbridgeable is-ought gap should first be characterised as though it were the idiosyncratic notions of a few oddball bloggists.

    This of course reflects want of addressing issues at their weight and the attitude that moral issues are matters of perceptions and might/manipulation makes right.

    No, our consciences, hearts and minds inform us we are under moral law. If that is delusion, grand delusion results and fatally undermines rationality. Next, where can we ground ought in a way that bridges the gap posed by Hume’s guillotine?

    If ever we set a basis above world roots, we go straight to is is ought ought, the gap.

    The only possible basis is world roots, and in an inherently good root of reality.

    That is why we face the single serious candidate challenge.

    KF

  98. 98
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @97

    Have you considered that rocks and other mechanical entities are governed by mechanical laws and that embodied agents will be governed by in addition moral and rational law in accord with their distinct nature?

    I asked in a prior comment whether rocks owe moral duties to other things. Your answer was unspecific and ambiguous.

    If you mean now to say “yes, they owe moral duties” then this comment is consistent. But you also wrote in answer to my question that “a rock is a mechanical entity not an agent … It would also reduce our conscious awareness and responsible, rational freedom to delusion.” So if rocks are governed by moral laws, they must owe moral duties in spite of their lack of agency.

    Which is it? Do rocks (and the like) owe moral duties?
    Are “our conscious awareness and responsible, rational freedom” delusion?
    (I say “no” to both questions.)

    That, both sets of laws could trace to the same mind?

    Could be, sure. Could be they don’t. Could be there is no mind creating either. What is obviously missing is any NEED to believe in such a mind.

    This view is not novel or idiosyncratic, it is for instance pretty directly laid out in Newton’s General Scholium to Principia, the greatest single modern scientific work.

    Novelty would not make the idea less likely. Being an old idea does not make it more likely.

    Newton’s Principia is not the “greatest single modern scientific work”; it is not even “modern” and its status of “greatest” is much in dispute. It certainly is not infallible; some of what Newton thought is known to be wrong.

    On the next point it is almost amusing but in the end sadly revealing that a point that answers to Hume’s attempt to put up an unbridgeable is-ought gap should first be characterised as though it were the idiosyncratic notions of a few oddball bloggists.

    Given your religious background, you may feel required to believe in “Proof from Authority”. But that is not a rational rule. Therefore Hume’s (FAILED) attempt “to put up an unbridgeable is-ought gap” is not discredited by bloggers who advance it. It is discredited because AT THE TIME HUME ATTEMPTED TO “PUT IT UP”, the bridge over this “gap” was already known: reciprocity as referred to by Locke, Aristotle, the ancient Golden Rule, and others no doubt.

    This of course reflects want of addressing issues at their weight and the attitude that moral issues are matters of perceptions and might/manipulation makes right.

    I don’t know what that means.

    Moral issues are matters of obligation and harms: duties creating obligations to avoid causing harms as the other side of the equation for those of us wanting to avoid harms to ourselves.

    No, our consciences, hearts and minds inform us we are under moral law. If that is delusion, grand delusion results and fatally undermines rationality. Next, where can we ground ought in a way that bridges the gap posed by Hume’s guillotine?

    We are under moral law; that is not in dispute between us. Moral law gains nothing by imaginary foundations encompassing morally exempt things.

    Moral law applies only to those things having volition, knowledge, foresight, and reason.

    Hume’s guillotine is broken. We CAN ground “ought” in reason and the facts of the human condition. Searching for a deeper ground is futile and purposeless: it adds nothing.

    If ever we set a basis above world roots, we go straight to is is ought ought, the gap.

    Hume’s guillotine is broken, his “gap” has been bridged without recourse to deities.

    The only possible basis is world roots, and in an inherently good root of reality.

    You know this is false. I’ve presented a possible basis, and you have found no fault or deficiency in it other than it is not your preference. You have found nothing that your alternative adds.

    That is why we face the single serious candidate challenge.

    Challenge met and done.

    sean s.

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