Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ryan v. Biden in Thomist perspective


This is my follow-up to the last redated post.

The difference between Ryan and Biden on abortion is this. For Aquinas, there are four kinds of law: eternal law, divine law, natural law, and human law. Since human law is aimed at human happiness and not salvation, it has to be based on considerations of natural law, not divine law. The claim that the right to life begins at conception, for Biden, is a matter of divine law. It is something that we couldn't discover by ordinary moral reflection apart from the Church's teaching on the matter. So, even though he thinks abortion wrong, he thinks it wrong because the Church teaches that it is wrong, and not because we could discover this on our own. Ryan, on the other hand, not only accept the Church's teaching on abortion, he thinks that human beings reflecting on the matter, could come to the anti-abortion position by natural reason alone. Even though much of our culture denies that abortion is morally wrong, those who do so, by thinking in moral terms, could and should reach the conclusion that abortion is, almost always, homicide without adequate moral justification. As such, he therefore believes it appropriate for government to legislate concerning it.

38 comments:

Crude said...

The claim that the right to life begins at conception, for Biden, is a matter of divine law. It is something that we couldn't discover by ordinary moral reflection apart from the Church's teaching on the matter.

What support does Biden offer for legal protection of human life at any point after conception, including shortly before birth?

If the answer is "none", the distinction is a red herring.

Victor Reppert said...

Is this the Infanticide Test? The Infanticide Test says that, for any defense of abortion choice you provide, the defense has not not work in the case of infants, unless you are willing to bite Peter Singer's bullet.

Though you did say "before birth."

Crude said...

Is this the Infanticide Test? The Infanticide Test says that, for any defense of abortion choice you provide, the defense has not not work in the case of infants, unless you are willing to bite Peter Singer's bullet.

Though you did say "before birth."


Nope, I said nothing about infanticide here. Well, I suppose partial birth abortion arguably counts.

I pointed out that this isn't merely an argument about what manner of reasoning supports the conclusion that the right to life begins at conception, if Biden in fact isn't in favor of any legal protection of human life for that range.

It's the difference between implying Biden has to suggest that there's no reasonable case to be made for legal protection of a fetus at the moment of conception, and 1 day before live birth.

In the latter situation, I'd like to hear it said that Biden is claiming we can't discover by ordinary moral reflection that partial birth abortion is immoral in any case. I think that will put things in some stark relief.

Crude said...

I'll also throw this out.

One common cry from certain quarters is that abortion should be "Safe. Legal. Rare." I can understand the general thrust of the reasoning that gets one to the conclusion of safe and legal.

But "rare"? Something's not right with rare.

Rare implies that there's something about abortion such that it shouldn't happen. We should keep it from happening, at least indirectly. But you know what? If that's the reasoning in play, guess what we're doing? We're telling women what they should do with their bodies. We may not be passing a law, but we're opening the door to a woman doing something immoral if she has an abortion. We just haven't specified what the conditions are.

And, inquisitive guy that I am, I'd like to know what those conditions are, such that I can condemn a woman having an abortion - or a man trying to encourage one, for that matter. I have the suspicion that when push comes to shove, the 'rare' modifier will be quietly dropped.

physphilmusic said...

What does it truly mean to "discover by ordinary moral reflection"? What is "ordinary" and what is not? "Ordinary" is a word which has been constantly redefined in order to suit political purposes. A century ago, it would have been "ordinary moral reflection" to conclude that homosexuality is repugnant and wrong, but today such a thought would itself be deemed repugnant and homophobic. Hence I think this is a bad criterion.

Moral reflection itself is dubious. I am very much disturbed by pictures of fetuses aborted after only a few weeks in the womb. That is a major driving force for my pro-life views. Is that good moral reflection? Or is that mere emotionalism? Is our general prohibition of infanticide a case of good moral reflection?

cautiouslycurious said...

physphilmusic,

Quick question, do you find pictures of open surgery to be disturbing? I only ask because I would be similarly disturbed by open surgery pictures as I would the abortion pictures. I wouldn't then think that both should be made illegal based on this emotion or 'moral reflection.'

BenYachov said...

>Quick question, do you find pictures of open surgery to be disturbing? I only ask because I would be similarly disturbed by open surgery pictures as I would the abortion pictures. I wouldn't then think that both should be made illegal based on this emotion or 'moral .

Based on that psychotic bit of "reasoning" there is no moral difference seeing pictures of Auswitch vs open heart surgery etc.

Wow we really are breeding a generation of sociopaths!

Crude said...

Quick question, do you find pictures of open surgery to be disturbing? I only ask because I would be similarly disturbed by open surgery pictures as I would the abortion pictures. I wouldn't then think that both should be made illegal based on this emotion or 'moral .

I imagine you would believe slicing people open and messing with their organs should be very tightly regulated. Or are you off into uber-libertarian land?

Rasmus Møller said...

We should come to terms about whether or how far we should impose our moral codes on others.

While at least in my country one can be legally accused of non-assistance to a person in danger, it is less clear how much assisting you are required to do.

You are required to call for help or help a person in danger, as long as it is possible without further endangering yourself or others. You are not legally obliged to, say, donate a kidney or any other body tissue, even if there is little to no personal danger involved.

If we for arguments' sake grant a fetus personhood, by what legal reasoning do we require the pregnant woman to carry the fetus to term?

As a Christian man I would urge the pregnant woman to rejoice in the new begotten life, even if she couldn't assume motherhood. But I hesitate to put (my interpretation of) God's law into penal code. Our laws should not punish pride or make failing to love your neighbour as yourself an offense.

Or - if indeed the newly begotten person must be protected by law - why should we require more protection from the pregnant woman than from anybody else?

Should the duty of the pregnant woman depend on whether she was (co)responsible for the conception? Or does the mere act of ovulating make her legally responsible for the fetus?

If society imposes birth on any pregnant woman for its own reasons, shouldn't the woman then be compensated for any danger, inconvenience, loss of revenue etc, similar to expropriation?

cautiouslycurious said...

Ben,
“Based on that psychotic bit of "reasoning" there is no moral difference seeing pictures of Auswitch vs open heart surgery etc.“

I can’t follow your reasoning at all. I only said that based on emotion, I get squicky at both pictures. This has nothing to do with neither finding moral differences nor implying that both are morally equivalent. I use reason to conclude what is right and wrong, not emotion, and there are plenty of reasons why Auschwitz was wrong while open surgery is not. Is using reason for moral claims really that much of a foreign idea to you?

Crude,
“I imagine you would believe slicing people open and messing with their organs should be very tightly regulated. Or are you off into uber-libertarian land?”

Yes, I do. Yes, they are. Doctors have to be licensed and similarly, abortions should be performed in a medical setting rather than say, in some alley somewhere.

Syllabus said...

If we for arguments' sake grant a fetus personhood, by what legal reasoning do we require the pregnant woman to carry the fetus to term?


The legal reasoning that one of the fundamental duties of a government - in this case, the US government - is to protect the right to life of the innocent. In a legal sense, the right of an innocent person to not be killed trumps the right of, say, a person to their privacy.

Or - if indeed the newly begotten person must be protected by law - why should we require more protection from the pregnant woman than from anybody else?

Because the woman, in virtually any moral or legal system in existence, stands in a different relationship to the child than do the other people. Besides, if we take that line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, why should we demand any more from a woman WRT her newborn baby girl - say, the imposition of forbidding her to toss the girl into the snow - than from anyone else? After all, the postman is not required to feed and clothe and bathe and provide medical attention to the child, so why should the woman be? As far as reductios go, this is a fairly good one.

Should the duty of the pregnant woman depend on whether she was (co)responsible for the conception? Or does the mere act of ovulating make her legally responsible for the fetus?

Is it her duty to not have the "person" killed? Clearly it should be, morally as well as legally. Unless you're willing to concede that certain persons have less rights than others, you have to come to terms with the fact that, in order to justify abortion, you need to state that the right of the innocent to life is superseded by, say, the woman's right to privacy and self-determination. Notice that we do not concede this overriding in any other moral or legal sphere. The question then becomes this: given that you concede the categories involved here are at least equivalent, what distinguishing qualities does abortion have that murder, infanticide and assassination not have?

As a Christian man I would urge the pregnant woman to rejoice in the new begotten life, even if she couldn't assume motherhood. But I hesitate to put (my interpretation of) God's law into penal code. Our laws should not punish pride or make failing to love your neighbour as yourself an offense.

Do you also hesitate to tell a man whether you he should slice up his wife and suck her through a tube to a garbage disposal because that is just "your interpretation" of God's law? It seems to me that there is a hierarchy of sorts in the moral law, and that certain things are graver than others in terms of infractions.

Crude said...

Yes, I do. Yes, they are. Doctors have to be licensed and similarly, abortions should be performed in a medical setting rather than say, in some alley somewhere.

Wonderful. So we've already got ample reason to start determining whether or not abortions should take place, in what manner they should take place, whether one is warranted, etc.

That door's now open. I'll barge right through.

im-skeptical said...

The presumption behind abortion restrictions is that a fetus is a living human being. Our legal system has never made that presumption. Throughout history, that has never been the case. There is notr a shred of support for the notion in the bible, either. The bible refers to the "breath of life" (in other words breathing) as the beginning of life. A certificate of live birth is the legal milestone for the beginning of personhood. The moment of conception is a milestone in the development of a human life, but it is neither a sufficient nor necessary step in the process.

Syllabus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Syllabus said...

there is notr a shred of support for the notion in the bible, either.

That's actually true. But even for many Protestants - possibly for most of the well-informed ones - the Bible isn't the sole guide to life. There's also tradition , for instance.

A certificate of live birth is the legal milestone for the beginning of personhood.

The point is, though, that it's a totally arbitrary delineation. The question isn't what the legal definition is - because law follows reflection, in a sense -but rather what it should be. Should it be the live birth certificate thing, or should it be otherwise? If it's the certificate of live birth thing, then it seems that it is society or a legal system which defines which humans are persons or not, at which point things get very tricky very quickly.

The moment of conception is a milestone in the development of a human life, but it is neither a sufficient nor necessary step in the process.

OK, then I guess I would want to ask whether you think there's a point at which a human life goes from not-person to person, or whether it's more along a continuum.

im-skeptical said...

"OK, then I guess I would want to ask whether you think there's a point at which a human life goes from not-person to person, or whether it's more along a continuum."

I believe that it's a continuum.

cautiouslycurious said...

Crude,

"Wonderful. So we've already got ample reason to start determining whether or not abortions should take place, in what manner they should take place, whether one is warranted, etc."

Glad you agree :)

BenYachov said...

>I can’t follow your reasoning at all. I only said that based on emotion, I get squicky at both pictures. This has nothing to do with neither finding moral differences nor implying that both are morally equivalent. I use reason to conclude what is right and wrong, not emotion, and there are plenty of reasons why Auschwitz was wrong while open surgery is not. Is using reason for moral claims really that much of a foreign idea to you?

Clearly reason tells us to be morally upset at a dismembered human being vs being merely offended on the asethetic level seeing sliced organs which are mere parts of a human being that are sliced for valid medical purposes.

I am glad you admit the pro-abortion side is ruled by emotion.

cautiouslycurious said...

Ben,
“Clearly reason tells us to be morally upset at a dismembered human being vs being merely offended on the asethetic level seeing sliced organs which are mere parts of a human being that are sliced for valid medical purposes.”

Reason doesn’t tell us to have any sort of emotion. Emotions are simply reactionary feelings that have nothing to do with reason.

Rasmus Møller said...

syllabus,

I am about as outraged as you are. These unborn children, whether persons or not, should be protected.

I just find it too convenient, if not downright unjust, to place that burden solely on the pregnant woman.

In many cases, she IS arguably in a special relation to the fetus, and you can therefore impose reasonable duties on her - you mentioned privacy though that's a slippery term.

In other cases she is just a victim. If you by law required some people to house refugees for extended periods, you would compensate them. Imposing extraordinary burdens require extraordinary compensation.

BenYachov said...

>Reason doesn’t tell us to have any sort of emotion. Emotions are simply reactionary feelings that have nothing to do with reason.

What does emotion have to do with any of this? Anger is an act of the will for justice. Just as love is an act of the will toward willing good or the maximum good for someone or something. Hatred is an act of the will toward willing evil for someone or something.

Still my point remains being upset(i.e. angry) is a result of moral reason telling us there is a difference between chopped human organs cut up for beneficial medical purposes vs chopped up human bodies that have been murdered.

No rational human has ever seen the former and felt the need to ban it on moral grounds even if they find the sight of it unappealing.

The later OTOH....with the exception of sociopaths provoke moral outrage.

cautiouslycurious said...

Ben,
“What does emotion have to do with any of this?”

You say this after mentioning disgust and offense and then follow up with a list of emotions. Do you really have to ask?

“Anger is an act of the will for justice. Just as love is an act of the will toward willing good or the maximum good for someone or something. Hatred is an act of the will toward willing evil for someone or something.”

You’re obviously adding something extra to these terms. In no way does anger mean the will for justice, nor love be an act toward the maximum good for someone else, nor hatred be the act toward willing evil for someone else. If anything anger doesn’t result in justice, an act of love premised on false beliefs can severely harm someone, and hatred can result in hoping that the individual not be harmed (willing to give examples upon request). These are simply emotions that correlate to scenarios, but they by no means entail them, unless you are redefining them for your convenience. In the conventional sense, none of these emotions are guided by reason.

“Still my point remains being upset(i.e. angry) is a result of moral reason telling us there is a difference between chopped human organs cut up for beneficial medical purposes vs chopped up human bodies that have been murdered.”

Again, you’ve failed to show that reason connects the two issues. I can still use reason to demonstrate that there is no moral difference between eating cows versus an animal with a fluffier tail without experiencing the appropriate emotion and I'd bet that applies to a sizable portion of the population. This is simply because emotions have no bearing on moral claims and are not entailed by reason.

Syllabus said...

I just find it too convenient, if not downright unjust, to place that burden solely on the pregnant woman.

I don't think that it has to be. Maybe there should be some sort of local initiatives to aid the ones who are genuinely in need because of their pregnancy. State legislature, say, that would give the possibility of aid to, say, a mother who has just lost her husband, has two kids, and is eight weeks pregnant.

But let's be honest: abortion isn't just about poverty. It's also about inconvenience for many people. The person who enjoys partying and sleeping around would not enjoy having a baby because that would be inconvenient to their chosen lifestyle, for instance. Certainly, not all cases are like that, but there are quite a few that are. So there are distinctions that need to be made. Aid to women desiring abortions would need to be very specifically defined and amply justified before it would be practicable, because although I don't think that one should not have a good welfare system simply because there will be moochers, I do think that steps should be taken to ensure that there are as few moochers as possible.

Syllabus said...

In other cases she is just a victim. If you by law required some people to house refugees for extended periods, you would compensate them. Imposing extraordinary burdens require extraordinary compensation.

Regardless of what one decides on the compensation question, it seems to me that you're still using a false analogy. You - assuming, for the sake of argument, that the "you" in question is a Christian like you apparently are - do have a duty to care for the poor, to treat the immigrant with kindness and generosity, etc. However, that duty is something that you can refuse to discharge while still not actively doing evil - or at least, very much evil. If, for instance, you are very poor, you might be reasonably entitled to ask that they be housed with someone or some family which is better suited to care for them, on the grounds that you would be unable to care for both your family and their family adequately. It's a sort of double effect thing: turning them away may be, in itself, a less good act than taking them in, but you do it because you are able to do more good in the second case than in the first. The nearest comparison that can be made between the emigrant situation and one involving a parent and a child would be that of giving the child up for adoption - you would not be discharging your duties as a parent, but you see that by letting the child be adopted the child will be brought up better than he or she would be in the event that you were to keep him or her.

If, however, you are poor and you wish for an abortion - conceding that you take a Christian standpoint, for the sake of argument - you cannot possibly undertake that act without doing a grievous evil, and without a similar good resulting. If you take the standpoint of a Christian, you concede that you cannot kill a human being - I'll add the qualifier "who does not deserve it in some way" for all the non-pacifist Christians out there. You might say that the woman will not be able to bring up the child properly if she does not have the resources and does not receive compensation of a sort. I would more or less agree, but I see no logical grounds on that view which can justify what you've already conceded is, effectively murder.

And does the fact of whether the foetus was desired or not change whether it is right or not to kill it? I don't see that it does. Her special relation to the foetus is not an accident of her will, it is both a profound biological connection - one which she shares with it regardless of whether the child was desired or not - and, arguably, a profound moral connection. That is, it is independent of her desires. Since you seem to imply that the desirability of a state of affairs will change one's duties in that state of affairs, let me ask you a parallel question: do the wife and husband in an arranged marriage have the same duties towards one another, and do they stand in the same relationship to one another, all other things being equal, as a wife and husband who were married by their choice? Why or why not?

BenYachov said...

@cautiouslycurious

You are the philosophical illiterate here not I.

>You say this after mentioning disgust and offense and then follow up with a list of emotions. Do you really have to ask?

Your the one who equated the esthetical disgust one might have over witnessing cut up organs with the moral outrage one might have over mutilated & murdered human corpses not I.

Do you really think a Pro-lifer is disgusted over pictures of murdered children in the same manner any person is disgusted over raw meat or cut up organs?

If you think they are the same then respectfully there is something wrong with you sir.

>You’re obviously adding something extra to these terms.

No those are the correct definitions in classical philosophy and Theology or are you one of these neo-theistic personalist Atheists types who thinks God has emotions or passions?

According too classic philosophy the intellect moves the will and passions might play an accidental role. But the movers here are the intellect to the will. The intellect tells us an injustice is committed when the innocent are butchered the will choses to conform itself to the moral law and the emotions react to their choice.

Your latent unexamined Lockean volunteerism not withstanding.

>Again, you’ve failed to show that reason connects the two issues.

Rather you are begging the question equating the disgust one has toward viewing mere chopped meat with chopped babies.

It is self-evident to those who are not sociopaths there is a difference.

>I can still use reason to demonstrate that there is no moral difference between eating cows versus an animal with a fluffier tail without experiencing the appropriate emotion and I'd bet that applies to a sizable portion of the population.

Substitute "cow" & or "fluffy tailed animals" with babies then get back to me.

>This is simply because emotions have no bearing on moral claims and are not entailed by reason.

Rather you don't understand philosophically or metaphyically what an "emotion" happens to be.

Nor have you shown by reason that chopped murdered babies are morally the same as chopped up body parts.

You assume it & beg the question.

BenYachov said...

>If anything anger doesn’t result in justice,

In addition to your unexamined Lockean volunteerism you clearly hold a consequentialist view of reality.

Anger is the will toward Justice.

Wither any act of will which flows upon an action succeeds in it's end is irrelevant.

Emotion has nothing to do with the moral disgust one has toward the bodies of murdered children and it cannot be equated with the mere aesthetically motivated disgust one feels toward chopped meat.

No doubt there where Nazis who had a certain delicacy in viewing the bodies of chopped up Jews the moved them toward disgust but not moral outrage.

So again your analogy is not legitimate or intelligent.

But if you are emotionally invested in it you may choice to defend the irrational.

cautiouslycurious said...

Ben,
“No those are the correct definitions in classical philosophy and Theology or are you one of these neo-theistic personalist Atheists types who thinks God has emotions or passions? According too classic philosophy the intellect moves the will and passions might play an accidental role. But the movers here are the intellect to the will.”

I should probably just list everything what’s wrong here. In no particular order:
1. Language has changed a bit since ancient Greece, to call those the ‘correct’ definitions of the terms is absurd.
2. Putting the adjectives atheist and neo-theistic make your intentions impossible to decipher
3. I’m an atheist, notice the lack of capitalization.
4. No, I’m not a personalist, not by a long shot.
5. No, I don’t think God has emotions or passions, I don’t think he exists (See point 3). That being said, he could be defined as being with or without emotions or passions. I don’t care to restrict the definition of God in such a way.
6. You should probably educate yourself; the knowledge from Ancient Greece is just that: ancient. We’ve learned quite a bit since then. I should probably wait until you catch up with the last couple hundred years of science. Case in point, the intellect does not move the will as it is falsified by those who are depressed. I have little interest in theories that don’t work in the real world.
7. I have no idea what compelled you to think that theology should be brought up in any conversation as if it’s relevant, but let me break it to you, it’s not.

“Rather you are begging the question equating the disgust one has toward viewing mere chopped meat with chopped babies*.

It is self-evident to those who are not sociopaths there is a difference.”

*To be interpreted as fetus, which could also be accurately described as a parasite.

I didn’t say they were similar for everyone. I asked what if they were similar. If they are similar for that person, should they then advocate against surgeons based on this emotion? Is this methodology based on emotion reliable or should we base it on reason? I chose to ignore emotion completely because it is not a reliable metric and determine right and wrong based on reason instead. There is necessarily a difference in reasons, although not in emotion and you yourself acknowledge that.

By the way, your insistence that all of this is self-evident aside from sociopaths is empirically false. Sociopaths represent about one percent of the population and about a third of the population thinks abortion should be legal and is morally acceptable under any circumstance. Just for context, about a third think it should be permitted in some cases such as rape, incest, risk of life to the mother. Maybe you take a page out of science and actually see if your position gels with the real world and take a slice of humble pie. Another word of advice; cut out the hyperbole, it doesn’t score any style points and it simply dumbs down the discussion.

"You are the philosophical illiterate here not I."

Just a few words about this, I haven't read much philosophy since middle school. I found that I learned a lot less from people who lived centuries ago compared to reading about science. From what I did learn, I found that it was mostly trivial stuff that I could discover on my own. For that reason, I don't put much stock in reading philosophy. Also, I found that the noise to signal ratio for philosophy writings to be too high for my liking. Because of this, I am not deeply familiar with John Locke's writings, terminology that is not Google searchable, or what the name of each school of thought is. However, I fail to see how this is in anyway a bad thing.

Rasmus Møller said...

@Syllabus,

Abortion is clearly a sin (except when choosing between woman and fetus) to us Christians. But if we wish to incorporate parts of God's law into common law, we need to argue on the premises of common law. Feeling strongly about killing or letting the innocent die doesn't cut it.

Common law would have it that we must take responsibility depending on a number of factors.

If the pregnancy is a result of the womans' own choice or negligence, it adds to her responsibility for the fetus.

If the pregnancy is a result of rape she is, like the fetus, an innocent victim. The Christian rapee might say "the rapists meant it for evil, but God meant it for good" and give birth. But can society really require that from any woman without at least compensating her for the added burden?

I am not sure I follow your supposed analogy about arranged marriages - I think that a clearer analogy would be a woman kidnapped and forced into marriage with her kidnapper.

BenYachov said...

should probably just list everything what’s wrong here. In no particular order:
>1. Language has changed a bit since ancient Greece, to call those the ‘correct’ definitions of the terms is absurd.

You are arguing with Theists therefore you will educate yourself learn our language and adapt. Because you will not be permited to commit the fallacy of equivocation.

>2. Putting the adjectives atheist and neo-theistic make your intentions impossible to decipher

????????????????

>3. I’m an atheist, notice the lack of capitalization.

????????????????

>4. No, I’m not a personalist, not by a long shot.

You conceve of the God you disbelieve in in solely anthropomorphic terms like a Theistic personalist. You concieve of any possible god in that manner as a being along side other beings. If it quacks like a duck etc...

>5. No, I don’t think God has emotions or passions, I don’t think he exists (See point 3). That being said, he could be defined as being with or without emotions or passions. I don’t care to restrict the definition of God in such a way.

Save the fact you must argue with the God I believe in not the one neither of us believes in. Also you sole concept of God is purely anthopomorphic & theistic personalist. You don't understand classic theism therefore your criticisms are tedious and ignorant.

>6. You should probably educate yourself; the knowledge from Ancient Greece is just that: ancient. We’ve learned quite a bit since then. I should probably wait until you catch up with the last couple hundred years of science. Case in point, the intellect does not move the will as it is falsified by those who are depressed. I have little interest in theories that don’t work in the real world.

Philosophy is not the same as empirical science and it is timeless. Even your own reductionist materialist atheism can trace itself back to Democretus. Thus by this silly standard you must reject reductionist materialist atheism since we learned a lot since Democretus.

You don't know philosophy and your "atheism" is intellectually inferior.

>7. I have no idea what compelled you to think that theology should be brought up in any conversation as if it’s relevant, but let me break it to you, it’s not.

I mentioned it in passing. Never the less your understanding of Love, hate, anger in modern terms is not correct.

I will correct more of your mistakes later.

grodrigues said...

@cautiouslycurious:

"Just a few words about this, I haven't read much philosophy since middle school. I found that I learned a lot less from people who lived centuries ago compared to reading about science. From what I did learn, I found that it was mostly trivial stuff that I could discover on my own. For that reason, I don't put much stock in reading philosophy. Also, I found that the noise to signal ratio for philosophy writings to be too high for my liking. Because of this, I am not deeply familiar with John Locke's writings, terminology that is not Google searchable, or what the name of each school of thought is."

Priceless, just priceless. CC (allow me this shortcut) has not read much but he is confident that it philosophy is mostly trivial, that most of it he could have found by himself (giggle), that he has learned more from science than from philosophy -- most of which he has not read. Of course these are all presonal impressions; they tell us something about CC, not about philosophy. Swap philosophy by science and you get an equally truthful and equally ludicrous, irrelevant confession.

All the more ridiculous when the opening sentence presenting this blog says that it is for discussing (drumroll, please) philosophy...

What ignorance and lack of self-awareness do to people's minds...

BenYachov said...

Thank you grodrigues that saves me a lot of trouble.

Briefly.

@CC
>I didn’t say they were similar for everyone. I asked what if they were similar. If they are similar for that person, should they then advocate against surgeons based on this emotion?

That begs the question. Like I said a Nazi might be sickened by what he/she sees going on in a concentration camp. But his/her sickness is nothing more than asthetics against seeing chopped body parts. The Nazi can still think apart from it being unpleasant to watch there is nothing wrong going on in the concentration camp.

To assume a prolifer is sickened by chopped babies merely on those grounds is presumptuous and ignorant.

Syllabus said...

But if we wish to incorporate parts of God's law into common law, we need to argue on the premises of common law.

I actually agree. So, here goes: common law holds that it is criminal to take the life of an innocent human being - indeed, it calls it murder. If we can therefore establish that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being - which I think is arguably possible - then we have established, logically, that it is criminal to take the life of a foetus, and thus that abortion is criminal.

If the pregnancy is a result of rape she is, like the fetus, an innocent victim.

True, she is a victim. But does the fact that she is an innocent victim justify making an innocent victim out of her child? I don't think that it does, and I don't have any particularly religious reason for thinking this. This is just straightforward moral philosophy.

The Christian rapee might say "the rapists meant it for evil, but God meant it for good" and give birth. But can society really require that from any woman without at least compensating her for the added burden?


Again, she could indeed be compensated. I'm not in principle - or even in practice - opposed to this.

But the question still boils down to this: does the fact that the foetus is a product of rape, as horrible as that is, deprive it of the rights that, ostensibly, every other foetus has? (Notice I'm not at this moment defining those rights, only that they exist. I think that, legally speaking, being deprived of rights is something that has to be done because of the individual, not of external factors or individuals - see incarceration, for example). In other words, what rights does a regular foetus have that a foetus that is the product of rape not have?

I am not sure I follow your supposed analogy about arranged marriages - I think that a clearer analogy would be a woman kidnapped and forced into marriage with her kidnapper.

Though you analogy with the kidnapper and kidnappee is applicable in certain spheres, I'm not convinced that it is in others. For instance, the point that is being argued is that the mother's responsibility towards the foetus is independent of what factors were brought to bear in creating that foetus - rape, incest, what have you. In this case, the foetus did nothing to create the conditions of the relationship. He or she had no agency in the matter.

Since the matter of agency - that is, of the effect that agency has on responsibility - is a major question, I think that the relationship of the arranged marriage - since the obligation, if such exists, of the wife to the husband and the husband to the wife exists without one of them having imposed it upon the other against the other's will - is closer to that of the foetus and the mother than is the kidnapper/kidnappee example, in that the the obligation, if such exists, is between two parties, one of which has forced that "obligation" upon the other by an act of their will, and against the will of the other. The effect that the agency of one partner in a duty-based - in some sense - relationship has upon the obligation that exists within that relationship is what is at issue here. In that case, I think that your kidnapping example is not as accurate as it might be. However, if my analogy is problematic to you, drop it. That's fine with me.

cautiouslycurious said...

Ben,
“You are arguing with Theists therefore you will educate yourself learn our language and adapt. Because you will not be permited to commit the fallacy of equivocation.”

Like I said, your language is not Google searchable. That is, it is not in the entries for the first page of dictionary responses, nor is it in the Wikipedia or Wiktionary entries for those topics, nor does adding the term ‘theology’ yield any significant results. These words already have meanings assigned to them in the English language and they don’t match what you state. If anyone is guilty of equivocation, it’s you. Creating another language when we already have one fully capable seems like a silly exercise with the only discernible end result of creating a bubble immune from criticism especially since there are no resources available to learn it. Have fun in your bubble.

Just for fun:

“You conceve of the God you disbelieve in in solely anthropomorphic terms like a Theistic personalist. You concieve of any possible god in that manner as a being along side other beings. If it quacks like a duck etc...”

I haven’t talked about any conception of God in this thread. I find it odd that you would simply tell someone else what they supposedly believe without any input. You’re late for Halloween; put the straw-men away.

“Save the fact you must argue with the God I believe in not the one neither of us believes in. Also you sole concept of God is purely anthopomorphic & theistic personalist. You don't understand classic theism therefore your criticisms are tedious and ignorant.”

Not arguing God in this thread. I haven’t made any criticisms of God in this thread, so your characterizations of those criticisms being tedious and ignorant are absurd. Put down the straw! Halloween is over!

“Philosophy is not the same as empirical science and it is timeless. Even your own reductionist materialist atheism can trace itself back to Democretus. Thus by this silly standard you must reject reductionist materialist atheism since we learned a lot since Democretus.”

Completely missed the point.

“You don't know philosophy and your "atheism" is intellectually inferior.”

Assertions are cheap.

“That begs the question. Like I said a Nazi might be sickened by what he/she sees going on in a concentration camp. But his/her sickness is nothing more than asthetics against seeing chopped body parts. The Nazi can still think apart from it being unpleasant to watch there is nothing wrong going on in the concentration camp.”

That is not even close to begging the question. Begging the question is when someone assumes a premise in order to arrive at a conclusion or you ask a question based on an assumed premise. There wasn’t even a premise in the quoted section, it was simply a question! Anyway, I agree with the following point.

“To assume a prolifer is sickened by chopped babies merely on those grounds is presumptuous and ignorant.”

I know you like Halloween, but Christmas is approaching; we need to pack away the Halloween decorations!

cautiouslycurious said...

Grodrigues
“CC (allow me this shortcut) has not read much but he is confident that it philosophy is mostly trivial, that most of it he could have found by himself (giggle), that he has learned more from science than from philosophy -- most of which he has not read.”

I said I haven’t read much philosophy since middle school, not that I haven’t read much. I’ve had exposure to philosophy from other topics, but I typically don’t read writings when it concerns solely philosophy and remember why I dread reading it when I do. For example, Jon Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham had contributions in economics so while reading about their economic theory I would get insight to their moral theory. However, if I want to learn about morality, my inclination would not be to ask a philosopher, I would want to learn more about humans and how morality developed, so I would investigate neuroscience, sociology, zoology, and psychology. Anyway, I took some philosophy courses in college, so it’s not like I’m completely inept at philosophy. I found it boring, didn’t do the readings, but still aced the exams; like I said, trivial stuff. I’m curious; do I need a degree in philosophy or know what Socrates said in order to do philosophy? Doesn’t that seem inconsistent with the objective of philosophy?

BenYachov said...

@CC

>Like I said, your language is not Google searchable.

No you will have to actually read real books and do real research so you might really learn something.

OTOH if you know where to look it's not hard for example if you google

love to will the good of another

you get links to the Summa, & a bunch of other good stuff that validates my use of classic language.

If you look up "Love" in the wikipedia you get QUOTE "St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, defines love as "to will the good of another."[10] END QUOTE then you can read up on the info provided in the footnote.

see here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love

Wow you suck at this it took me 2 seconds to find it! It took me longer to type this response then to find it.

> Creating another language when we already have one fully capable seems like a silly exercise with the only discernible end result of creating a bubble immune from criticism especially since there are no resources available to learn it.

There are the writings of Aquinas like Summa Contra Gentiles, Brian Davies, Feser, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, etc....

You flatter me but I didn't create a new language I learned an old one.

Which can be confirmed even if you skills lie solely in the providence of google. I did it so what pray tell is your malfunction son?

>I haven’t talked about any conception of God in this thread. I find it odd that you would simply tell someone else what they supposedly believe without any input. You’re late for Halloween; put the straw-men away. Not arguing God in this thread. I haven’t made any criticisms of God in this thread, so your characterizations of those criticisms being tedious and ignorant are absurd. Put down the straw! Halloween is over!

I am responding to your denial that you don't have a Theistic Personalist conception of God when you clearly do. I have a Classic Theistic view yet if I where to corespond with a Hindu I certainly understand his differing concept to enough to contrast it with my own. You OTOH are a tower of willful ignorance & as such you can't make any meaningful criticism of the classic view.

You told Grodrigues you haven't done much reading in philosophy since college but you did read some philosophy but clearly nothing about natural philosophy, philosophy of mind or even philosophy of science.

So how am I suppose to believe you read anything about the God of the Philosophers?

>Assertions are cheap.

What like claiming you couldn't confirm my use of language with google? Yes that was easy to refute.

>That is not even close to begging the question. Begging the question is when someone assumes a premise in order to arrive at a conclusion

Like assuming there is no difference between choping up organs vs chopping up babies? Then concluding just because we find open heart surgery sicking we shouldn't outlaw it anymore then outlawing abortion because we find chopping up babies sickening?

Like that?

>or you ask a question based on an assumed premise. There wasn’t even a premise in the quoted section, it was simply a question! Anyway, I agree with the following point.

>“To assume a prolifer is sickened by chopped babies merely on those grounds is presumptuous and ignorant.”

Then don't compare open heart surgery & finding it sickening to watch (BTW I three time now saw a Doctor cut open my wife to remove our children. It's no big deal) to finding abortion sickening because it's unpleasent to see.

>I know you like Halloween, but Christmas is approaching; we need to pack away the Halloween decorations!

In psycvhology we call this projection.

BenYachov said...

>Anyway, I took some philosophy courses in college, so it’s not like I’m completely inept at philosophy.

Just Jon Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham in regards to their economic theories. No mention of Plato, Aristotle, Parmenides, not even Atheist materialists like Democritus!

Useless!

cautiouslycurious said...

Ben,
"No you will have to actually read real books and do real research so you might really learn something."

Learning a language is a skill, not a source of knowledge. I have no desire to learn a language that is nearly a century old so that I can converse with someone on the internet who hides behind walls of obscurity. Any real books you recommend? If I can find a copy at the local library, I'll read it to see if it has anything of educational value.

“Wow you suck at this it took me 2 seconds to find it! It took me longer to type this response then to find it.”

I stopped after the first negative result. Try anger.

“I am responding to your denial that you don't have a Theistic Personalist conception of God when you clearly do. I have a Classic Theistic view yet if I where to corespond with a Hindu I certainly understand his differing concept to enough to contrast it with my own. You OTOH are a tower of willful ignorance & as such you can't make any meaningful criticism of the classic view.”

Like I said before, I haven't even talked about a particular conception of God in this thread. To say that I hold a particular conception and that it is quite clear despite no evidence and my objection is quite delusional.

“You told Grodrigues you haven't done much reading in philosophy since college but you did read some philosophy but clearly nothing about natural philosophy, philosophy of mind or even philosophy of science.”

Yes, I’ve read about natural philosophy and philosophy of science; not that this has any relevance to the topic at hand.

“Like assuming there is no difference between choping up organs vs chopping up babies? Then concluding just because we find open heart surgery sicking we shouldn't outlaw it anymore then outlawing abortion because we find chopping up babies sickening?”

I never assumed that there was no moral difference between surgery and abortion. I happen to think so, but it has no relevance to my point. As for no emotional difference, that is indeed the case for many people. Either way, this isn't connected to what you objected to and it isn't even a valid criticism.

“There wasn’t even a premise in the quoted section, it was simply a question! Anyway, I agree with the following point.”-CC

A point of clarification, I agreed with the point following the accusation of begging the question of the same quotation, not the point in the following quotation below it.

“Then don't compare open heart surgery & finding it sickening to watch (BTW I three time now saw a Doctor cut open my wife to remove our children. It's no big deal) to finding abortion sickening because it's unpleasent to see.”

Why not? I wasn’t speaking of pro-lifers. Of course if you change the scope of the topic, the answer is liable to change. You've missed the point and gone way off topic here.

“Just Jon Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham in regards to their economic theories. No mention of Plato, Aristotle, Parmenides, not even Atheist materialists like Democritus!

Useless!”

Do you know what “for example” means? It means you are giving one instance of something. I didn’t list off every area of philosophy I’ve read and what I mentioned were specifically not philosophical works. I was listing philosophy that I’d encounter while learning things that I could actually use. This also begs the question; how has Plato, Aristotle, Parmenides, or Democritus contributed to economics, statistics, or computer science? Agreed, their writings are useless indeed ;)

Victor Reppert said...

Even if he agrees that abortion is morally unacceptable, Biden's position requires him to find some relevant difference between the already born and the unborn. Those already born have their lives protected by criminal law, so we need a reason why the unborn should not be similarly protected.