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  1. I am a psychology major undergraduate and have a couple days to apply for a job/internship at the Centre for Cognitive Work and Safety Analysis which is a part of the Department of Defence Science and Technology, Australia. Australia is an ally of the United States of America and fought beside them in all the major wars. Australia is a Commonwealth so if Britain declares war, Australia must contribute to the war effort. Australia is actively involved in the war in Afghanistan and the war against ISIS. Australia is also part of the Korean war. My duty might involve improving the displays of fighter aircraft which would directly effect bombing missions in the middle east. Other duties I could be involved in is research, transcribing, conducting interviews and analysis. This internship would last for 4 months maximum. There are many benefits to getting this internship. There are not really any other jobs in the market for students that would challenge my research and cognitive skills. I'm thinking of becoming a neuropsychologist so it's really important, especially when I go for PhD (In Australia it is required). Also, the pay is good and I have no shame for taking taxpayer money while I am young. Also, the centre is literally in the same suburb that I live in, and halfway between my house and my university. Also, it could teach me something about the psychology of those in the military which is very unique knowledge for a libertarian to have. If it were not for the initiation of force, there wouldn't be many better jobs that I could be doing at the moment. While what I'm doing might be directly working for the military, but morally speaking, it's not necessarily different to other work I could be doing because my taxes would go towards the military anyway. Violation of the NAP is wrong, but what I could be doing could help me prevent violations of the NAP more than actually violating the NAP. Also, if I were at any time uncomfortable, I could quit. Still, it bothers me that what I would be doing would be directly contributing to the murder of innocent people. How could I find a balance in this scenario? (did you forget it's valentines day?)
  2. The importance of rational ethics We are born into the world not simply to learn facts about the world but also to make choices. These choices are conscious and deliberate, therefore when we make them we are trying to base them off something we have consciously learned. Some kind of knowledge that allows for this decision making must exist, even if this knowledge is simply that we should follow our instincts. The knowledge for choices that are within our rational self-interest is called ethics. Naturally, we must find what ethics is if we are to be rational. What is essential to ethics is that it is rational, and any alternative is irrational or non-rational. If we are arguing for ethics, we are arguing that it is within peoples' rational self-interest to follow ethics. If our ethical system cannot be proven to be rational, it is not an ethical system. Indeed, people have criticised UPB for supposedly failing to prove ethics is rational (1, 2, 3). This is why when I read Universally Preferable Behaviour (UPB; 4) it was my intention to focus on why UPB is rational. It is imperative to prove that it is rational to follow ethics, as this is the only defence against nihilism. My understanding of rational ethics after reading UPB (UPeB) After reading UPB four times, I came to a specific understanding of ethics which I think makes a slightly different argument to UPB, but nevertheless works from the similar axioms. I mistakenly took 'universally preferable' to be synonymous with 'universally permissible'. A universally permissible behaviour (UPeB) is a behaviour that I can prefer and it doesn't necessarily conflict with any other person's preferences. In that sense, they are permitting my behaviour. E.g., I prefer jazz and everyone else could permit that I prefer jazz, therefore jazz is UPeB. I prefer murder but my victim necessarily does not permit the murder, therefore murder is not UPeB. My argument is laid out here in syllogistic form: 1. Preferred behaviours are deliberate. (Conscious, voluntary, etc.) 2. Deliberation requires beliefs. (Propositions, truth statements, etc.) 3. Preferred behaviours are based on beliefs. (E.g. I should listen to jazz, I should murder) 1. Preferred behaviours are based on beliefs. 2. Beliefs must be universally permissible to be true. (Reality is objective. Therefore, beliefs cannot be true for some people and false for others. Therefore, true beliefs are permissible as being true by everyone.) 3. Preferred behaviours that are not universally permissible must be based on false beliefs. 1. Preferred behaviours that are not universally permissible are based on false beliefs. 2. Falsehood is irrational. (I cannot think or deliberate without knowledge. That would be like trying to sail without a compass.) 3. Preferred behaviours that are not universally permissible are irrational. (Murder, rape, theft, fraud, lying, etc are irrational.) Stefan's understanding of ethics (UPB) When I skimmed the book recently, I realised I made a mistake. Stefan makes clear on page 51 that 'preferable' means preferences that are required for some individual to attain an end, and 'universally preferable' means required for any individual (objectively required) to attain an end. E.g., if you want to lose weight (end) it is objectively required (universally preferable) that the output of calories is greater than the input of calories. This meaning of 'universally preferable' seems to differ to my original understanding. UPB proper seems to deal with essential means to an end. My UPeB seems to deal with the objectivity of true beliefs. Is UPB rational ethics? The big question is, can UPB be proven to be rational? I.e., is someone who doesn't follow UPB being irrational? Stefan argues for why UPB exists in syllogistic form (page 55), but doesn't seem to argue for why UPB is rational in syllogistic form. However, he does mention that moral theories must be rational to be true (page 63), thus he implies that if UPB exists, it must be rational. I suspect that the proof of the rationality of UPB is similar to my argument for the rationality of UPeB. The proof of the rationality of UPB in syllogistic form would look something like this: 1. All rational beliefs have an argumentative form. (If I believe something, I should be able to argue for it.) 2. Rational preferred behaviours are based on rational beliefs. 3. All rational preferred behaviours have an argumentative form. 1. All rational preferred behaviours have an argumentative form. 2. The act of argumentation asserts UPB. (UPB are the preference for truth over falsehood, that we exist, that the best way to solve conflicts is peacefully, etc. This is similar to Hoppe's Argumentation Ethics; 5.) 3. Any preferred behaviour that conflicts with UPB is irrational. Looking at page 211 'UPB in a Nutshell', Stefan seems to be making the argument that UPB is asserted in any argument (premise 2 of syllogism 2 above). Further on page 65, moral theories are kind of theories about UPB. People who propose moral rules are proposing they are UPB, presumably because in the act of arguing for a moral rule, they are asserting UPB. This is the same as assuming the moral rule is UPB(!?). Stefan doesn't seem to make this explicit, which is why I have to do some guesswork to come up with this syllogism. I am not quite sure if Stefan would argue that ethics can be proven to be rational, ethics cannot be proven to be rational but only that ethics exists, or something else altogether. I would not be surprised by the second outcome as he says he fully accepts Hume's is-ought distinction (as do I; page 12). The differences and similarities between UPB and UPeB Argumentation asserts universally permissible beliefs. In this way, premise 2 of the second syllogism is similar premise 2 of the third syllogism in my original argument. The conclusions of my argument might be different to Stefan's. He might only mean that preferred behaviours that are in conflict with those UPB such as 'truth is better than falsehood' and 'we exist' are irrational while mine is perhaps broader but also perhaps more problematic. A problem with UPeB UPeB might be problematic because any preferred behaviour that is not universally permissible could be deemed to be so. E.g., I am not murdering you because you ought to permit me killing you, in fact you are the irrational one and not me. It begs the question, what ought a person permit? Perhaps UPB solves this by saying the preferred behaviour could not be deemed to be universally permissible because the action itself conflicts with the requisites of argumentation? UPB and consequences I believe that an ethical framework people ought to follow must be able to at least theoretically explain different consequences of unethical behaviour. UPB the book lacks in this regard. He does make some consequential arguments for UPB (page 66), but he doesn't make an explicit argument of explaining how they are causally linked. According to UPeB, irrational beliefs cannot be within one's rational self-interest. UPeB and consequences An explanation about why UPeB will lead to positive personal consequences goes like this: Having irrational beliefs (including irrational preferred behaviours) means you seize conscious control over those beliefs. These beliefs must stem from some unconscious part of your psyche which seems to be particularly resistant to rationality. That which is resistant to your conscious awareness is painful and destructive to your conscious awareness. I'd like to know if I've made a correct evaluation of UPB with the syllogism I used and my understanding of preferability and what people think about UPeB and how morality can be proven to be rational. References 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viZYL3ceh9U 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGYendXNjGg 3. https://board.freedomainradio.com/topic/46332-why-be-moral-answered/ 4. Universally Preferable Behaviour: A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics by Stefan Molyneux Paperback 5: https://mises.org/wire/primer-hoppes-argumentation-ethics
  3. I hope that people will see this while my reputation is still Neutral. This is the thread I wanted to post anyway. I want to write an essay on how to apply UPB in a Role Playing Game, and I started this thread to focus on that topic. It's my hope that I would be able to implement a mechanic that awards extra experience points when the players are more than just murder hobos in the game, as well as have them get interested in philosophy between sessions. (Much like how people got interested in Objectivism when Bioshock came out.) Of course, what is UPB in, say, Dungeons & Dragons would differ in some part to what's UPB in Real Life, which is what I'd like to figure out. I'll start with what I've written down as a quick summary of what UPB is in just a few paragraphs, which I know I'm a little off. Let me post it here to see what you think: [Start] For the uninitiated, and I'm sure that you're one of them since you got this at DriveThruRPG and have never even heard of its creator, Internet Philosopher Stefan Molyneux, allow me (with apologies to Stefan) to generalize Universally Preferable Behavior for the record: A common problem with ethics is that a global consensus of what is moral among several groups, especially between different cultures and kingdoms. All throughout real life human history, as well as in Æthercoil's realm up to the Dragons and Eladrin showing up, there was a belief that "it is impossible to define an objective, rational, secular and scientific ethical System…that morality must forever be lost in the irrational swamps of gods and governments, enforced for merely pragmatic reasons, but forever lacking logical justification and clear definition…that virtue, our greatest joy, our deepest happiness, must be cast aside by secular grown-ups, and left in the dust to be pawed at, paraded and exploited by politicians and priests – and parents…that without the tirades of parents, the bullying of gods or the guns of governments, we cannot be both rational and good. The cost to mankind has been enormous." (Molyneux 7) There are plenty of attempts to declare a set of ethics and morality that doesn't have this authoritarian source. A child can get his brain around something like "You shouldn't hurt another person," and eventually, as he grows up, can understand a broader concept of respecting each other and live so that he'll be at peace with everyone around him…only to find a bunch of adults who should've known better declare a group of people deplorably evil and they should be hunted down to a man on sight. What would circumvent the majority--if not all--of the strife, suffering, and whole rivers of blood spilling all over humanity at large is a system of ethical behavior that applies to everyone regardless of any differences. A social contract that everyone agrees on what is moral, right, and good. Two people from different religions, for example, might have differences behind what their representative holy prophet might be, and would debate it in earnest, but both of them would have a general consensus that, while they might have our differences, they both understand that it's flipping wrong to kill each other over it. That last part of the above paragraph is an example of an objective form of ethics that applies all across humanity. When Stefan made his attempt in explaining this needed 'common law,' he called it 'Universally Preferable Behavior' or UPB. He wrote a book about where he states his proof and does his work. It's been debated thoroughly since it's publishing and some even found some flaws in Stefan's logic--even with my own flimsy hold on Critical Thinking, I can understand if anybody can only get so far in a 134 page PDF. Shoot, what Player's Handbook I ever was complete and thorough in any RPG? Nevertheless, UPB is an excellent concept to consider, and my pondering over the concept gave me the idea of incorporating a form of ethics into a RPG game, to teach ethics, philosophy, and even critical thinking, to the people playing the game. Defining what UPB is in Dungeons & Dragons is a lot harder than implementing UPB from behind the DM's Screen. In fact, I've already done something like this with the "Non-Violent Resolution:" If the party encounters a hostile party or event, and the party resolves the scene without resorting to Attacking, the Experience Points awarded in this scene is doubled. Awarding additional XP for exhibiting UPB on the table makes for a prime encouragement for the party members to think outside the "Open Door-Kill Fodder-Loot Treasure-Lather-Rinse-Repeat" box and creates RPG adventures that are more than just a bunch of Murder Hobos killing things and blowing stuff up. The hard part, of course, is defining what UPB is in an RPG setting. Yeah, you say, it's wrong to Rape, Steal, Kill, and Destroy; but this is Dungeons & Dragons we're talking about. Aren't you supposed to do that? Ah, welcome to applied ethics, dear reader.
  4. So, I don't know if anyone has already done this or not, but I thought it would be very useful to organize the UPB framework into a concise series of criteria tests much like is done with the scientific method. This has helped me use UPB to either validate or invalidate a moral claim. Please look it over and let me know if I have forgotten anything: Criteria for a UPB proposition to be valid: 1. Cannot be proactively positive. 2. Must be universal across space, time, and conditional scenarios. 3. Must not simply be a description, but must be a valid negative obligation that one can put into practice. 4. Must pass the common sense test (the rape test et al). 5. Must negate the morality of a positive action that one is reasonably able to avoid doing. 6. The morally negated action must create a negative outcome for another party simply by the act of committing it. [Side note: We could objectively prove this as a necessary criterion by saying that the morally negated action must create karmic debt for the actor] 7. The morally negated action must not be reasonably avoidable by the victim of the action otherwise it is an aesthetically preferable behavior. 8. Positive net benefits of compliance to the moral rule must be verified empirically once put into practice.
  5. In FDR557 Stefan makes the claim that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is an invalid moral rule. I have heard him make this same claim in other podcasts, and I am choosing to address it now. I am addressing Stef directly in this post, but anyone who wants to respond, please feel free to do so. I actually include a slight variation of the golden rule in my own moral philosophy that I am currently writing. The problem you are experiencing with it is that you are taking it too literally. First of all, it is not a moral rule, rather it is a strategy for dealing with the law of karma. One of the main premises of the law of karma basically states that if I do something nasty or unpleasant to you (not even necessarily immoral), then you in turn will have a desire to do the same thing back to me. We call this a desire for revenge, but where does this desire come from? It is not rational as if you pull a prank on me and shave my cat’s butt, for example, then me going and shaving your cat’s butt to get even does not actually benefit me in any logical manner. In fact, it takes extra effort out of my time and day to repay the favor, so I am actually accruing more damages as a result of my action than I otherwise would by doing nothing. The only real possible benefit is that it may deter you from doing the same thing in the future. However, people take revenge even in situations where it is either highly unlikely that the perpetrator of the crime will ever repeat the crime or even if it is effectively impossible for him to do so. For instance, if you shoot someone’s mother and then get hit by a car and either die or become a quadraplegic as a result, that does not necessarily satisfy the aggrieved party’s need for revenge. They may even go as far as to shoot your mother, who is a helpless bystander that had nothing to do with your crime, in an attempt to exact revenge. From this, we can come to the conclusion that revenge is just as immoral as the original act by the perpetrator which is why most libertarians tend to agree that restitution rather than punishment is the way to deal with criminals. We can see the immorality of revenge in action by observing the law of karma in effect in revenge scenarios. Let’s take the famous feud of the Hatfields and McCoy’s as a perfect example. The feud all started over a single murder. A Hatfield shot a McCoy for trespassing on their property which the McCoy’s saw as an injustice because it was a disproportionate use of force (citation needed). The law of karma tends to agree as disproportionate return force leaves an imbalance. We can see that happened as the result was that a McCoy decided to take revenge on another Hatfield. This did not stop there though as the Hatfields then wanted revenge on the McCoys and a huge and bloody family feud started that killed off a great number of both Hatfields and McCoys as the need for revenge and lust for violence kept escalating and escalating until it turned into an all out blood bath. So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s assume for a second that the law of karma does exist and is valid as I do not have the time to go into the rigor of empirically proving it. The law of karma exists, and in my moral philosophy I use three examples to describe it. The first is Newton’s third law of motion. Even matter is subject to the same law as for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If one atom pushes on another atom, the other atom pushes back with the exact same force. This is a well known and well proven concept in physics. So, we have example one, Newton’s third law of motion, which is actually the cause of the law of karma. Now, my second example is an example of actual instances of the law of karma in action as it deals with morality. That is the “eye for an eye” principle/law. An eye for an eye is actually not rational as it is just a codified description of the law of karma in action in a moral sense. That is why an eye for an eye is no longer considered a valid moral rule as it just results in the further proliferation of blindness in general and has no measurable benefit for the victim. The third example I mention is the golden rule, and I mention it as an example of a real strategy for dealing with the law of karma. Now, when I cite the golden rule I make the claim that it is valid if the original intent of the rule is taken into consideration. The writer may have failed to articulate it properly or failed to consider the fact that people have varying preferences, but his intent was of writing it was obviously not that people force their preferences onto others, but that they act unto others in a manner that is generally accepted as being virtuous and considerate. As such, all we need to do to formulate this into a valid strategy for dealing with the law of karma is to reword it slightly as such: “Do unto others within reason that which you would have them do unto you if you were in their shoes.” So, the proper way to practice this is to put yourself into the other person’s shoes and say “if I were them, how would I want to be treated by others?,” and if the acts that you come up with are reasonable, possible, and coincide with one’s own rational self-interest, then you should do perform those acts onto the person when dealing with them. I like to call this the platimum rule since it is an upgrade from the golden rule. Even though I presume that this was actually the original author’s intent in writing the rule, I like to reserve the phrase “the golden rule” to describe a different phenomenon which is “whoever has the gold makes the rules.” Hence, I think you are wrong about do unto others because you are taking it too literally rather than trying to interpret the original author’s intent in writing the rule. This is a fallacy somewhat akin to equivocation that has yet to be formally recognized or labeled. Now, I want to quickly take my remaining time here to talk to you about the benefits of recognizing the law of karma as a valid natural law of the universe: 1. It is empirically provable and has a basis in physics, is universal, and is therefore objective. 2. It can be used to enhance UPB to further determine the merit of a moral proposition by running the moral proposition through the platinum rule. 3. It explains an awful lot of natural and moral phenomena in the universe. 4. It gives support for the idea of perfect balance within the universe which can be observed in all disciplines of science from physics and chemistry to biology and economics (why not ethics as well?). 5. It is a rational, empirically provable, and universally consistent justification for restitution as a strategy for dealing with crime. Unless we just flat out assume that moral actions require balance in order to be made right, then we cannot justify restitution. If we assume it, then we are simply putting forth an argument by assertion fallacy in order to justify something that “just feels right.” For instance, if someone steals $50 from you, spends it, either earns or steals another $50, and you steal the new$50 back, then we have to have a justification for your actions in order to not make you equally guilty of the same crime. If we are to make the moral argument that if someone violates your property rights, then you are then justified in violating theirs, we have to come up with some way to justify this. We can’t use self defense because the aggressor is no longer aggressing against you. Since we cannot justify taking the money back ourselves, nor can we justify hiring another person or group to do it for us as we cannot confer a right that we do not have onto another person or group. In order for restitution to be a valid moral action, we MUST recognize the law of karma as both a physical and metaphysical law of the universe. Finally, I would just like to say that the value of the platinum rule is as a strategy for keeping yourself out of karmic debt. That is why I like it and why I use it. It is not perfect. What if you don’t know the person at all? Well, then you should follow general guidelines of how people generally like to be treated. What if you get it wrong and offend them anyway? That is always a possibility, even without the platinum rule, but the platinum rule mitigates that possibility. That seems valuable to me, and if we observe the actions of Christians while they are practicing this rule, we can conclude that the rule seems to work as Christians who do practice this rule tend to be some of the nicest and most pleasant people you will meet (it helps that they are professionals at not taking the bible literally). That is empirical evidence that the rule has merit. It does require positive action which is why it IS NOT a moral rule, but rather simply a strategy for dealing with the law of karma. Let’s go ahead and call it an aesthetically preferable behavior that, by its practice, generally improves the quality and happiness of our lives.
  6. soared4truth

    Rebuttal to FDR802:

    Rebuttal to FDR802: On the subject of Buddhism, Stefan makes a number of claims that come from his lack of understanding of Buddhism. I would like to address these claims and would also like to request a response from Stefan himself although all responses are welcome. Disclaimer: I am not a Buddhist. I have my own philosophy, but I do use some of their methodologies as discussed below, and have a very good understanding of the philosophy. First claim: Buddhists are hypocrites: If a Buddhist invalidates someone’s argument rather than the person, they are not guilty of hypocrisy since they are addressing the argument and not the character of the individual. Stefan is falsely accusing them of ad hominem. An attack on someone’s argument says nothing about their character. Next, I disagree with the statement you read from “John the Buddhist” about Buddhism. The mythology is relevant and many people interpret it literally. There is a standard of determining whether something is true or false in Buddhism but it is introspective rather than extrospective and thus results in subjective proof rather than objective proof. In other words, you prove it to yourself. Some Buddhists are now willing rely on the scientific method in order to prove it to other people. I also disagree that the ideas have been distorted. Rather, you spoke to individuals that have a very poor take on Buddhism and they do not represent Buddhism as a whole. Now, when “John the Buddhist” started accusing you of not understanding and being non compassionate he did cross the line into hyprocrisy. To judge Buddhism by the actions of one man who claims to be a Buddhist is collectivism, and a hasty generalization which is irrational. Next, you said that you did not understand what “the craving of things causes one to be reborn” means. Let me explain that statement to you. They mean it quite literally. The action of having expectations and craving things is commonly referred to as “grasping the web [of karma]” Buddhists believe that such grasping creates karmic bonds that hold you to this existence so that when you die, you are reincarnated again. They refer to this process as the wheel of life and death. However, if one were to completely sever all karmic bonds, then one would be able to ascend to a higher plane of existence with the Gods. It is the Buddhist version of going to heaven. However, it can be interpreted in many ways. Have you ever watched the Stargate SG-1 television series? In that series, they portray ascendance as becoming a consciousness that is made out of pure energy that exists on another plane. That is one of many interpretations of ascension that could be applied to Buddhism. Toothache scenario: According to both Buddhist philosophy and Chinese Medicine, which is based on Buddhist philosophy, the toothache is caused by a blockage in your Qi energy through one of your chakras or meridians. That blockage is in turn caused by your grasping to the web. In theory, if you did not ever grasp the web then you would never have any blockage and be in perfect health so long as you ate a clean, natural, healthy vegetarian diet and ate in moderation. There are several ways to treat a chakra or meridian blockage, one of the most well known being acupuncture which has been proven effective at reducing or eliminating pain at the hands of a skilled acupuncturist. Qi gong is an example of a less well known method. Kundalini and Reiki are somewhere in the middle between those two in terms of general public recognition. Refrain from killing anything living: You are taking this too literally. What is meant by this is to not kill anything living unnecessarily. Remember, this is a moral rule, so it is subject to UPB. Let’s evaluate it using the UPB framework: The proposition is “You should only kill that which you have to in order to subsist naturally on this planet.” Is there choice or personal responsibility involved with not killing anything more than you require to subsist? Yes, one can choose to kill the exact number of organisms required to subsist or they could choose not to. No person or circumstance dictates that they must do it or that they must do otherwise. Avoidance: Can one avoid being responsible for killing more organisms than necessary to subsist? Yes, but only by practicing the moral rule, and by not practicing the moral rule you are subjecting more organisms to untimely death. We can argue over whether that matters or not as they are a different species, but the fact remains that the situation is unavoidable for them just like rape and murder are unavoidable for the victims. The organisms may have a chance to get away in some scenarios which is why I would consider hunting more moral than buying meat that came from a slaughterhouse. Initiation: Do the organisms you are killing consent to being killed to help you subsist? No. Can two men in a room together only kill that which is necessary for them to subsist? Yes. Does initiating force against lower life forms in order for you to subsist violate the non initiation of force rule? Yes, so long as we consider initiating force against lower life forms to be an NAP violation. Do lifeboat scenarios apply? Yes, you need to kill some organisms simply in order to subsist and killing microbes is unintentional. That is why killing that level of organisms is considered moral whereas killing more than you need to subsist is considered immoral. You have no control over the fact that you need to kill other organisms to subsist nor any control over accidental killing of organisms. Interestingly, there is a sect of Hinduism (which is incredibly similar to Buddhism philosophically) called Jainism and Jainists go as far as to wear respirators so as not to accidentally inhale microbes and kill them with their immune systems. However, I would argue that they are not drinking the water because it cannot be perfectly pure. Should you still accept punishment for killing organisms that you are compelled to kill in order to subsist? Yes. We must accept that we are imperfect beings and know that there may be a karmic thread attached to our actions even if we are compelled to perform those actions in order to survive. This is why asceticism used to be popular during the time of Shakyamuni or “Siddhartha Gautama.” It is still practiced by many Hindus to this day. Can it be applied at all times in all places by all men universally? Yes, and as a matter of fact it would have the side benefit of conserving resources like crazy if practiced by all men simultaneously. Can you not kill anything more than is necessary for your subsistence in a coma? Yes, as a matter of fact, you would be doing this by default in a coma. Is the opposite of the moral rule a vice rather than a virtue? Yes, and the opposite is killing organisms in excess of what one needs to subsist. Are we able to determine an objective standard for the amount of organisms one needs to kill to subsist? Yes, there are science based means of determining one’s minimum nutritional needs. Do insurmountable logical problems arise from the opposite propositon? Yes. Killing organisms in excess of what one needs to subsist is universally preferable leads to contradictions because it is a positive requirement. Do all men have the capacity to follow this moral rule? Yes, as long as they have the minimal amount of brain function necessary to make a rational determination of what the minimum nutritional intake one needs in order to flourish and subsist. Okay, valid moral rule. Anyone disagree? Next up, why do Buddhists not use logic, reasoning, and evidence to prove their moral rules? Two reasons: 1. They are unaware that a methodology exists to do so like I have just done above. 2. They prove it to themselves subjectively via various specialized methodologies of introspection. Claim: The law of karma is based on mysticism. Rebuttal: Only if you consider gleaning wisdom from the universe via specialized methodologies of introspection to be mystical. I don’t believe it is. Let’s take meditation for example. How do you glean wisdom from meditation? You still the mind and thoughts and in doing so can perceive things that would otherwise be unable to be perceived with all the background noise going on in your head. In other words, you allow the universe itself to talk to you, but it only whispers very quietly so you have to tame your mind in order to hear it. Buddhists make the analogy of a muddy river where the current keeps churning up mud. If we still the water, then the mud settles and the water is now clear and one can see all the way to the bottom of the river, whereas before one could only see the surface of the muddy water. Claim: You can’t describe the essence of Buddhism in three pages or less. Rebuttal: I just did (total length 2.5 pages) and addressed your arguments against it at the same time. Not everyone has the same natural ability of articulation. I happen to be one of the people who does have that. Claim: There are no hidden gems of wisdom in Buddhism. Rebuttal: Yes there are, but they are hidden; therefore, you can’t see them. You can find them by practicing specialized introspective methodologies and it takes a fairly good bit of practice to master. There is a famous saying in Buddhism and eastern thought that goes something like “He who speaks knows not.” The meaning of this statement is that the deep wisdoms revealed only through introspection cannot be communicated because they are entirely subjective in nature. That principle is one of the main reasons why Buddhists are unwilling to engage you in rational debate on these issues. It literally goes against what used to be, and for many still is, a main principle of Buddhism, but it rightly should no longer be considered such due to the inventions of both the scientific method and UPB. Luckily, I am not a Buddhist, so I am not hindered by their limitations. I do use some Buddhist specialized introspective methodologies though, so I know what they are talking about.
  7. Hi thinkers and alike, (some housekeeping first) Disclaimer : From here, there'll be spoilers. So continue reading at your own discretion. I wouldn't dare to take 'pot shots' at UPB or the well intended (unless I had good arguments against, which I don't = I use it, it works... not an argument, though.) , simply because I hold them dear to me, plus have a great respect for the virtuous. (If I do, please call me out on it.) This is a video Stefan Molyneux did on the Force Awakens and another, Harry Potter, Star Wars and the Violent Fantasies of Crushed Souls and about Carrie Fisher.. RIP Carrie Fisher | Star Wars Princess Leia my aim here: Is to discourage the uninitiated from developing a liking to Star Wa... nope, that's not it lemme' try once again.. Is to shine a light(no pun intended) on the 'bright/good side' suggesting that certainly it wasn't so bright, while also reminding people/having a discussion about the sophistry that's been going on in each&all movies (at times), caveats that will rewrite entire narratives but are rooted in philosophy. - - - - (now to the 'meat of the matter') If a MASTER UPB philosopher had taught at the Central Jedi Academy, there wouldn't have been any problem teaching the young Anakin Skywalker (mind-fiddly: Jesus-ish connotations regarding his birth?! Eh?!) to fully embrace the 'suck', learning to properly allocate responsibility/process emotions and he wouldn't have wanted to join the dark side. E-veR. No way. Barnsley
  8. Disclaimer: I'm making this post out of intrigue, I wish no harm to the people mentioned in this post or to anyone affiliated with FDR. I assume that all this is probably a coincidence. I was web surfing and out of complete coincidence (seemingly not connected to FDR) stumbled upon these websites. Archive.org confirms these websites are older than the freedomain radio websites or podcasts or Stefan's personal blog. In fact morelife.org can be tracked as far back as 1998 when they were in early development, and selfsip.org - 2003. This symbol was first used no later than 2001. morelife.org selfsip.org https://twitter.com/paulwakfer https://twitter.com/KittyAntonik The Self-Sovereign Individual Project: A program to achieve freedom from government coercion for those who understand it, want it and are responsible enough to live it On the morelife website: "Cognitive therapy will not be effective for a person who merely reads written material or listens to a speaker describe the model of interaction between the listed five areas of life, because these are too passive. Instead, active participation on the part of the reader of books on the cognitive model or as a client/patient of a cognitive therapist is essential for progress toward increasing happiness." Paul Wakfer ("Kitty" on the left): Born on the 26th of February, 1938. Holds a Master of Arts in Applied Mathematics (MA, U of Toronto, 1960) Is a former computer consultant, teacher and entrepreneur (1973-1990) During Paul's post-graduate studies at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, at New York University (Washington Square) in 1961, he enrolled in an extra curricular course from The American School of Economics. It was while attending these lectures on freedom oriented economics (by such notables as Ludwig von Mises and Henry Hazlitt), that he overheard a conversation about The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, then read it and eventually everything associated with her. Since 1972 Paul has been an independent scholar in the philosophy of freedom reading widely and deeply from the works of the classical liberal thinkers and more contemporary libertarians writers. This has enabled Paul to progress from his original views of childhood that an oligarchy of the wisest should govern, to a full recognition that only the individual can judge what is in her/his own best interest and that an individual's goal of seeking to maximize his lifetime happiness will produce a complete and consistent set of rules of social order which will promote and allow this goal to be sought in a conflict-free manner by all rational individuals. Social Meta-Needs (SMN), published in 2004: Social Meta-Needs are those Environmental Attributes of and within Society, common to all individuals, which facilitate the highest possible attainment of Lifetime Happiness by each. The basis of Social Meta-Needs is to be found in the ethical egoism of the individual human, which implies that seeking to optimally increase his Lifetime Happiness by means of optimizing his Benefit/Harm Estimations and consequent Chosen Actions, must be his ultimate purpose. Social Meta-Needs are not ends in themselves, but rather the conditions and tools of Social InterRelationships - the Social means needed to be common to all individuals so that each individual can best attain his ends. A bit about Kitty: Kitty Antonik Wakfer (born April 6, 1945 and also known as Kitty and Katherine Antonik; formerly with last name Raastad and Antonik-Raastad; with other Internet Forum Usernames "Kitty" and "KittyA" and "KittyAW") formerly practiced as a registered nurse and later as a mechanical engineer; she has been an avid reader of science fact and fiction since her youth. As a nurse for 13 years, Kitty worked in the areas of emergency care, obstetrical, pre- and post-surgical, geriatric, psychiatric, and home-health finding the most satisfaction in the latter which allowed her to utilize her strong patient advocate skills. She returned to university level studies (moving to engineering from nursing) and after graduation from the University of Arizona (BSME 1983) she was employed at the then Motorola Government Electronics Group (sold to General Dynamics after her departure). Kitty spent more than 16 years in the mechanical design of space-borne electronic hardware, most notably the GPS Block IIR and Block IIF Crosslink Data Transponders. In this role she was responsible for the mechanical integrity of the units, specifically their performance after launch and deployment. In conjunction with the various electronic engineers and designers, Kitty's responsibilities included the design of the numerous printed circuit boards, their manufacture by outside vendors, and interfacing with in-house assembly services. In addition she was responsible for various analyses, customer presentations, vendor reviews, mechanical testing, and overseeing a team of project mechanical designers. Kitty's pro-freedom philosophy had its earliest formal introduction with the reading of Ayn Rand's Anthem at age 16, the same year that Paul was reading The Fountainhead for the first time. Over the years she read all the works of Rand and many of those of Ludwig von Mises, Henry Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson, Thomas Sowell and other 20th century writers on economic and personal actions. She has more recently enlarged her knowledge of the moral basis of human interactions by reading many of the writings of earlier writers such as Henry David Thoreau, Lysander Spooner, Jeremy Bentham, Herbert Spencer, and others whose writings either served as philosophical foundations for the US founding fathers or who wrote critiques in the years following the federalization of the US government.
  9. Will Torbald

    Life is not a debate - UPB assumptions

    If you accept the premises, the conclusions follow necessarily. That is the basis of all rational argument. In all UPB debates, the defense side invokes the premises of debate and declares that from the assumptions, the plaintiff must have already accepted the outcome. However, the problem of applicability of the initial assumptions isn't solved. Why would we apply the rules of debate to life at large? Debate is debate, chess is chess, tennis is tennis. If someone wanted to skip ahead in line over the chess rule that whites go before blacks, we'd think he's a little mental. If someone wanted to justify abolishing the state because the rules of debate say so, we'd think he's a philosopher instead. I fully acknowledge that right now I am using the assumptions of UPB for the sake of debate and argument. What I also realize is that I can also live without most of them and do just as well. And you might say "so what, so is the scientific method, but that doesn't mean that it isn't true" - but no one is saying that you are immoral if you're not scientific. Scienstists don't go into churches to condemn the priests for talking about miracles. I also know that debate is a practice, not a reality. You go into the tennis court, you sit at the chess table, you talk at the debate square. But all those events are on/off bubbles that people turn in order to achieve a goal. If morality is for something, it's not to win a game, but for life. And life is not about truth, nor about winning, or being right, or being objective. The universe couldn't care less about those things. Life has existed without knowing any of those things, and will continue long after humans become extinct. This sounds fatalistic or nihilistic, perhaps, but this isn't an attempt to justify moral nihilism. Nor am I am a moral nihilist, just someone who questions why a moral system must insist on asserting that their rules must be universal when they are particular like the ones for chess or tennis are. If you wanted to live in this world with any sense of rationality, the assumptions: "We both exist" and "The senses have capacity for accuracy" are enough for all living forms. Language has a capacity for meaning is enough to initiate discourse and communication - good for human life. "Correction requires universal preferences" is a bit complicated. I would say it requires mutually agreed preference, as in to say that if you have agreed to debate, you also have agreed to be corrected. Yet in life people most certainly hate being corrected, nor do they want to change their opinions, so here we start seeing the deviation from the assumptions required for living and the ones taken for debating. No one needs corrections in their life, and the history of the world and religions show that sometimes the most succesful lives resist correction against all odds. "An objective methodology exists for separating truth from falsehood" - I think this forces the conclusion since truth and falsehood are already objective claims to begin with. They include objectivity in their essence, so to speak. Maybe it's just meant to be redundant on purpose. Might as well be called "truth and falsehood exist" - but the following assumption "Truth is better than falsehood" doesn't really follow necessarily from any logical conclussion. It is only something agreed for a debate, yet life doesn't need it. I know you don't go around Christmas telling children that Santa doesn't exist because you're not a jerk - but you will insist that I have agreed that Truth Is Better Than Falsehood in this debate and in all the world for all past and future - so I hope next Christmas you start a worldwide campaign against Santa since you also agree that it is False, so you must fight against it. But no, it is just a debate rule in order to declare somebody the winner of it. I wouldn't really hold you accountable for your debate assumption in life because I know life is not a debate. Do you, though? Peaceful debating is the best way to resolve disputes - or the debate is good assumption, since we're debating we must agree that it is good, otherwise we wouldn't do it. But so what? Why must I, in life, choose the best way at all? Maybe I prefer the least complicated one. Would that be wrong? Why? Maybe the best way isn't available and force is. Life is messy like that. "Individuals are responsible for their actions" - isn't that an entire separate moral debate? This is assuming the conclusion of the most important challenge in all of moral philosophy, and here it's just a given assumption because we are debating. The crux is proving that someone is responsible, not assuming it. And for the sake of the debate, sure, I can totally assume you are a responsible being in sentience of your mind - but I don't need to assume that outside of it. There are many degrees of determinism and kinds of determinism that are scientifically valid considerations that the premise of UPB being a scientific approach to ethics looks thin next to them. Even in a perfectly healthy looking person, how do you know his brain isn't hardwired for the decisions and preferences he takes? Or that he or she lacks a neurological structure for self control that others have? Or that even when it looks like self control, they lack a function to begin agressions? Someone would look very righteous and moral, but then they can't even think mordbidly. Would that be a good person if he's incapable of wrong? I don't like bringing even physical determinism since that would involve quantum mechanics and parallel universes, and I know those ideas are kind of unpopular in these debates. But for such a big assumption to make for the sake of debate, the justification of taking that into life at large is missing big time. The only thing done is saying that assuming the rules of debate must somehow imply that they are also rules you must follow at all times everywhere under all circumstances. Why? -Epilogue If you agree with me, then you probably realized that UPB isn't really derived from the observed and experienced requirements for life, but a position wholely assumed through initial preferences that are taken for the sake of forcing the conclusions they demand. In this sense, I would admit that the moral rules of UPB apply only during a debate, but not outside of it since UPB doesn't justify keeping those assumptions in life at large. The night is a jungle, and the assumptions you make about it shape the lenses you use to see the world. In one lense, something is moral. In another, it's immoral. But now what? If you still agree with me, you would say "but which moral system is the right one?" and I have my own thoughts about it, but that's not the point, and it would be for another thread. But if you were driving on a mountain, and I told you that the road you took leads to a precipice - would you stop, or would you tell me that you wouldn't turn back unless I told you what the right way to go is? I don't know for sure, but that's not as important as not falling off the mountain. Like any good scientific/rational proposition, I also include falsifiability. For me to be wrong, I would only need evidence that the assumptions of debate, and UPB, must be taken for life. That they are not optional assumptions, but that they have to be taken at all. If you say that they have to be taken in order to be moral, you are begging the question since you are defining morality through the conclusions of the assumptions, and that's just cheating. That which is moral or immoral changes sides when you switch to other systems, so why is this system necessary to assume in contrast to others?
  10. ProfessionalTeabagger

    Why be moral? (answered)

    Because it's correct.
  11. In part two of the book (Application) when Stefan is testing the moral value of rape against the 7 different categories, he dismisses the notion that rape can be considered morally neutral by stating that it is a preference enforced upon someone; however, to my knowledge he never stablished why an action that is enforced upon someone can't be morally neutral. I find this to be a breach in the practicability of UPB. Can anyone explain why a preference enforced upon another human being can't be morally neutral?
  12. In what ways is morality different from language? It is universally preferable IF one wants to communicate effectively to use the same language. It is universally preferable IF one wants to make any sense that you abide by the rules of the language. You do not need to use the language, there are many you may choose from. If you use a different language, nobody will use violence against you. Is morality any more binding than language, or is it just a useful convention people may or may not adopt to aid in our mutual survival? Why am I asking? - Well, if it's just a convention like language, an intellectual challenge or cultural norm, I would use it if it benefitted me (e.g., to get along with others), but I wouldn't act morally if it was to my disadvantage ... making morality loses any power it once had. I've read many of the "why be moral?" posts but I'm still unconvinced, perhaps a more focused comparative approach may work?
  13. I just finished reading through the UPB book, it was thoroughly enjoyable but I have a few comments, concerns and questions. First of all, to me, UPB felt more generalised than a "rational proof of secular ethics", it felt more like the correct application of logic to moral statements and I finished the book still unconvinced that ethics is anything more than just personal preference. The first concern I had was that it all seems very theoretical in the sense that it's a great tool for using in debates where both parties accept universal principles. If both parties accept universal principles have to apply to everyone without exception regardless of costume, race, location, etc ... then it's a great logical tool for validating theories. For example, if someone puts forward the theory it's moral for soldiers to kill, UPB is great for shooting that down in a debate where logical consistency is required. However, I wasn't quite convinced when moral rules were being proposed instead of refuted. For example, on page 121 (Lulu paperback version) murder gets defined as "killing intentionally and with premeditation, not in self-defence" which defines murder in such a way that it has to be a moral evil. UPB is about abstract principles and not individual instances, for example, it says that when a soldier puts on a uniform, the uniform cannot change the moral nature of the man. The principle being put forward here is that UPB has to be applied to the abstract concept "man" and not "man in a uniform". With the definition of murder as killing with premeditation and not in self-defence, UPB isn't being applied to the abstract concept "killing" but instead killing in a particular circumstance. Is this not comparable to the soldier and the uniform? If UPB is all about analysing concepts in the abstract, should we not be asking is just plain old "killing" immoral without the caveats? In the above example, it seems that UPB is only applied to instances where by definition the act is considered wrong. For instance, applying UPB to rape is no great feat since rape is already defined as "bad" or "evil". We already know rape is unwanted because it's defined as unwanted. Likewise trying to show that fraud is considered evil in UPB is pointless since it's considered unwanted by definition. I fully see the benefit of UPB in combating false moral theories but I don't see how it takes the place as the correct moral theory. As I said earlier, it seems to just be the correct application of logic to moral situations. However, throwing around the "moral" tag seems to be somewhat pointless. Showing that someone is internal consistent is great, I can see the immediate value in that, but labelling something immoral seems like a waste of time. It seems to be a secret handshake used by people who have come to the same conclusions - you both agree that X is immoral and you don't like it, therefore, you can both get along together happily. But are "moral" and "immoral" not just labels used to express preference for what you find acceptable behaviour to be? To be clear, I think UPB is a great book, it will do wonders in combating false moral systems, but I'm still not convinced about use the use of moral labelling. Does labelling something immoral have any more power other than to express your dislike of something? Is UPB anything more than taking your personal preferences and putting them forward as universal and logically consistent statements for consumption?
  14. Max Hartford

    Why Be Moral?

    I've been thinking about this question for a while, and I would be interested to hear your thoughts. The question is: Why Be Moral? Why be ethical? Why adhere to UPB? Why be a 'good' person? The only reason that really makes sense to me is: because doing so, in this specific case, would make me happier than an alternate course of action. But if this is the answer, than the concepts of ethics, morals, UPB, etc... seem to lose their utility, being replaced by a series of personal, egoistic, utilitarian calculations. What are your reasons? Is there something I'm missing?
  15. For years I have been posting my own commentary on current events on my personal FB wall. I used to share memes and links and videos and spam my own damn page. lol I stopped posting articles and links a few years ago and noticed something interesting. I would go to source pages like the FBI criminal stats and such and instead of linking the page, I would simply type out the data on my wall and add my own commentary my own words. Some of my posts are long or I post them as 'notes'. There are times I will even quote Stefan directly, especially if I know the person doesn't like him or think FDR is a cult. Then many times (it's amazing this has happened quite often), people will say, 'wow...that was well stated...where did you get that?" Then I will reveal that it's from FDR, Stefan, etc. They usually make some grieveance as to why they don't like FDR or whatever and then within a week or sometimes a month after I earned credibility with them I see them sharing Stefan's podcasts and Youtube videos! lol On my wall posts I sort of break the ice by titling my posts with things such as Warning: hug room not included or Popcorn Time... another long-winded rant by ***** (my name), etc. I noticed after I stopped posting links and articles (unless it's REALLY REALLY worthy and even then I add my own commentary), that people would start to engage...but not much. However I would get MUCH more response offline in private messages. People 'following' me who aren't necessarily my FB friends. people who are my friends but still afraid to go public with what they support etc. I can't tell you how many people thank me offline for simply providing additional information they otherwise would not have gotten through conventional sources. This past year I added another approach.... even though I get private messages of encouragement, it's not like a HUGE following so I sort of make myself appear bigger than I am (and mind you, this is my personal FB page...not a special interests page or politlical page). So, when a huge current event occurs (France attack, Orlando attack, etc) I typically wait a few days to respond....I do this anyway because I do get emotional about these things and I like to have facts before I post ANYTHING. Then, after the buzz online dies down and I have gathered my thoughts I write something like: "my heart goes out to...... I have a lot to say about this but need some time to get my emotions out of the way to share my logical assessment of the situation..." after a few days I will write something like: "Thanks for all the private messages from friends/family and followers who have been asking me my take on xyz event...." ".....I always like to take my time before posting my thoughts and usually do so in doses over the course of new information coming out...." "...so for now my thought is......xyz" etc I do this even if NO ONE private messaged me to ask for my thoughts. lol I tell you what, since I've been doing this I get FAR more engagement on my wall AND a ton more people are even sharing my posts of my 'long rants'., I don't curse or use hyperbole on my posts. I just make argument and list facts and site the source such as 'fbi crime stats' rather than link it. If it's politcally or current event related, I will set the post to 'public'. If it's my personal life and photos, I keep that only for friends, of course. That way it reaches more people who aren't your friends without revealing your entire personal life. This has also increased 'shares' and likes and that's the name of the game to get our arguments out there. I like the element that I'm just a regular gal...i'ts not a political or 'official' page of any special interest. It has provided many fruitful conversations than before when my page was simply tumbleweed and crickets but filled with links and media and memes! lol I like the 'notes' approach since they are archived and easily. I'm just sick of people being too damn scared to say things outloud and engage online for goodness sakes and I realized that if they feel like there are more people as afraid as them but at least admitting it offline (whether true in a given particular moment or not)....it brings them forward to engage, which is quite incredible and interesting. I rarely get people who attack me...even if they disagree I have had only one person in like 4 years get hostile and I simply wrote on the wall 'Can you tell me how many people you have convinced to your viewpoint by calling them a Nazi?" and after that they left my wall and deleted their comments. lol SATISFACTION!! BWHAA!! Occassionally I post my wall is a Freedom-of Speech friendly wall. I will never censor or delete comments or people. If you do not want to see my posts, either hide or select me off of your feed or block me. I ask that everyone keep it clean and civil but if you do not, your posts will only show as an example of your method and whether or not it's effective as I am not here to spend time deleting offensive material on my wall unless it's gory/bloody or pornographic. Make your arguments in words...not photos. This seems to disarm the trolls before they even consider engaging on my page, which saves time and frustration. If anyone tries this approach, do you mind reporting back to let us know if it works for you or not or share your experience? I hope it works for you!!
  16. So I was reading this "Mental Lever" (https://www.zeroaggressionproject.org/mental-lever/social-science-part-1/) at the Zero Aggression Project. ​Near the end it says: The article links to a Wikipedia article on scientism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism). The way the article was written makes it seem like a concept dreamed up by superstitious people to misrepresent and explain away science. For example, in the first sentence they put "authoritative" in quotes. Then they conclude that science "excludes other viewpoints". Anyway, I was just curious if anyone here had heard of "the intellectual error of Scientism" and had more to add than the seemingly biased Wikipedia article. ​If Scientism were valid, it might pose problems to the arguments supporting Universally Preferable Behavior.
  17. Request to caller: please write out your logic. I am having a difficult time understanding how an intent without action can be either moral or immoral. Thanks.
  18. Hey guys, I've been studying UPB recently and am now finally beginning to really understand it. It makes a lot of sense although I still do have some minor reservations. Although the logic is sound I will still do more research to make sure there are no obvious holes in it. Any ethical theory of course has to overcome the mental gymnastics of ethical relativists and subjectivists. I have been a libertarian for a long time but have recently been looking for strong ethical frameworks to explain it. My question is are there other philosophers that have picked up on UPB and subscribe to it? I understand that it is a relatively approach to libertarian ethics but I was wondering if anyone else has come to adopt it.
  19. Will Torbald

    U Preferred B? Preference and Choice

    Universally Preferred Behavior? Before the P stood for Preferable in UPB it was meant as Preferred. However, one argument against it was that it is possible for people to prefer to murder or to steal, aka murderers and thieves. This argument was accepted and thus it was revised. Preference and Choice. It is possible to choose B even when we prefer A for any reason. The argument that any choice is undeniable evidence of preference doesn't work in our everyday empirical experience. We know that even though we prefer vanilla, we eat chocolate sometimes. We know that even though you might prefer a certain person as a romantic partner, you could choose another one for various other reasons. What we prefer and what we end up ultimately choosing aren't always the same. If everything is a preference, then nothing can be not a preference- so how do you know preferences even exist without a not preference to compare it to? A preference is the result of our internal measurement of values against a given set of choices, and that process necessitates a consistent inner logic for it to ever be a preference. If every day of the week the value for vanilla changes within you, this inconsistency cannot be used for a preference. You might not know whether tomorrow vanilla will be better or worse, thus you can't determine your preference without it staying as an internally consistent value. Such values are determined through a logical process that analyses the needs and senses and compares all choices to the one that best satisfies the needs and pleases the senses. A vanilla ice cream might just fit the bill when you need lots of energy and a sweet taste. Maybe another ice cream is just as caloric, but the taste makes it so unpleasant that it's just not worth it. Thus preferences have internal logic and consistency to be preferences at all. Ultimately, UPB is a system of logically consistent behaviors where a set of binding interactions that contradict each other are considered rejected as a universal standard, namely aggressive behaviors. The initiation of the use of force cannot be a logically consistent practice amongst individuals. UPB morality might as well be called Logically Consistent Behavior since only those interactions that are logically validated are allowed (even if the action itself might be illogical like making random noises or postmodern art - because they are not contradicting, just absurd). If I were to argue that I prefer to murder, it would be to say in a higher level that I prefer logically inconsistent behavior. I would be saying that I have come to the logically consistent conclusion that I do not prefer to behave in logically consistent ways. Yes, it short circuits. Let me try it again. A person arguing that they prefer to behave in logically inconsistent ways is using a logically consistent method to arrive to a consistent preference of refusing to behave logically. This would self implode the argument against U Preferred B, and so it would revert U Preferable B back to Universally Preferred Behavior. If it's correct, obviously. What it could be said is that I choose to murder, not that I prefer to murder. Does that make sense, now? It only works if you accept a distinction between choice and preference. Some people might argue that all choices are preferences, no difference, but I can't accept that since I know that I choose against my preferences all the time in my life. And maybe you know it too. How many times did you think you would rather be doing something else than to read this while reading this post? You just chose to read it, but I don't know if you really prefered to. How can you even prefer to read it when you didn't even know its contents before you even read it? You just read the title, and made a risk assesment and a choice based on it. A lot of you have skipped it, too. Not you, I hope. I choose to murder. I don't prefer it. I can't prefer it. It's not an excuse. Aggression is a choice, not a damned ice cream flavor. That's not a murder confession, btw.
  20. Ethics is described in UPB as the subset that deals with enforceable behavior. The kind of behavior that it enforces is negative behavior, as in not-murder. However, propositions of negative behavior carry no information regarding the actual behavior of the agent. This is confusing in the sense that our minds are conditioned to expect judgments based on positive actions, not negative 'not-actions'. This is why UPB deals only with the examination of moral principles, not of particular actions. In order to acquire information regarding positive behavior we would have to inverse the theory to find the positive side. But before doing that, let's examine the behavioral aspect of the theory. For the purposes of this conversation I will separate behavior into actions and interactions. A simple action is motion that does not escape the body that it produced it. If I swing my arm forward into the air I am performing an action. However, if I swing my arm forward and it knocks out an unsuspecting and random person I have created an interaction. Interactions are the transference of energy from one body to another. It is clear that the ethics of simple actions are understood to be amoral, while interactions are morally judgeable. It is often the case that people try to ban or make rules against simple actions like "killing", but that can never be valid. This in turn confuses people into thinking that secular ethics are impossible, or forever relegated to relativism or egoism - but the mistake is to ignore the reality of interactions. So I'd say that ethics is the subset of universally preferable behavior that deals with universally permissible interactions. With this information, the question of "was this interaction moral or immoral?" can be examined directly instead of indirectly. UPB would only argue that a moral theory that says that an aggressive interaction was good is logically invalid. Whereas it could be asked "was this interaction universally permissible?" and it could have a clear cut yes or no answer without having to jump into meta-levels of examination. By permissible I mean interactions that can have consent removed from them. For example, I wouldn't say that the gravitational effect of the Earth on my body is a permissible interaction because it is universally forced on me and I cannot escape physics. The earth doesn't care if I consent or not because it makes no difference. It is inescapable. But escapable interactions can be permissible since the escape is the removal of the consent and sufficient action against it. This doesn't mean that if I put you in a cage that you can't escape from I've created an inescapable interaction because I could have chosen not to put you in a cage. The Earth can't choose to not pull me in. If I were to remove my clothes and throw my body unto you while saying "I do not consent to your face touching my xxx" you would understand that there is a contradiction between my interactions and my words by which I would be judged by the interactions I caused versus the consent I claimed I didn't give. Therefore the factor of permission is relevant to the agent receiving the energy, not the one giving it as it is logical that if the energy was given it had the consent of the giver (barring mental health and other exceptions). Going back to our Rando that I punched earlier, he has now gotten up and is very upset at me for knocking him down. Nonetheless, I explained to him that I was just making a theoretical example, and that it wasn't personal. This convincing argument satisfied him and told me he was a also a Buddhist monk. He forgave me in the name of his god, and went on his way. So he gave me permission retroactively to assault him, and it went well. I had the luck of punching a very humble person, but if I had punched a more feisty person I don't think he would have forgiven me. This means that there are interactions that, while initially not-permitted by the receiver, can be retroactively permitted. These are retro-permissible interactions, or RPI's. This doesn't mean that RPI's are universally preferable, but that they contain the potential to be forgiven. For the sake of being brief I would summarize that theft, assault, and sexual assault are RPI's: Not universally preferable, but not universally unforgivable either. This doesn't mean that you should forgive them either, but that the probability can never reach zero either. I am leaving murder for last because it is the only aggressive interaction that can't be forgiven by empirical demonstration. If you murder me I would become incapable of giving you permission after the fact because I would be dead. Maybe other people could make nothing of it, but it can't be retroactively permitted by the victim either. It will forever remain in a state of non permission. Since it is impossible for third parties to grant permission over my life or property, no one else can retro-permit it either. The concept of retroactive consent or permission sounds a little offsetting and almost an admission of subjectivity since the weight of the moral category of the interaction falls on the victim's choices. Nonetheless, the ethics of interactions require this level of open ended consensus since interactions are owned by the parties involved, not by third party judges. We as moralists or philosophers cannot interfere with the judgments of the owners of the interaction because doing so would be a violation of their property rights, rather ironically. We can only observe and influence through dialogue whether a victim condemns or forgives his assailants, but to determine the ultimate judgment by ourselves would be an act of arrogance. So, UPB has four interactions as evil: Murder, theft, rape, and assault. But UPI has only one as evil: Murder - and three as wrong but locally and retroactively permissible: Theft, sexual assault, and assault. Just because something can be locally permissible it doesn't mean it will be permitted. Depending on the circumstances the probability of forgiveness is almost zero, but the catch is that it can never actually reach zero as in the case of murder. Only murder has a zero chance of ever being permissible by which the label of true evil is guaranteed. Everything else is wrong, but not absolutely. But there is one more thing. RPI's can't be considered permissible if the interaction happened under the threat of murder. Since murder is the only evil, any permissible wrongdoing committed under the threat of murder becomes evil by association. I could steal something from you when you weren't looking, and it would be wrong, but it's a RPI nonetheless. Maybe I just took a cookie from your lunch as a joke. But I could steal the same cookie while threatening you with a loaded gun and it would not only be wrong, it would be evil. And that's the difference between something being wrong, and something being evil according to the theory of universally permissible interactions. To trespass property rights is always wrong as UPB demonstrates that it can't be right, but to trespass them with the weapon of murder is evil. This also sounds very similar to the NAP, if you were paying attention. However, the NAP would say that all incursions of property rights are abhorred and should be treated with equal moral condemnation. This leads to many arguments about flagpoles, or lifeboats, or any ridiculous objection to it. I get it. I've done the same thing myself in thought experiments, and I don't like it either. This way of thinking, on the other hand, bypasses the extremists by literally saying "Bro, interacting with the property of others without permission isn't evil per se, it's just necessary during emergencies. I'm sure they would give you permission after the fact when you explain it to them, but you're not evil for doing it". This isn't something that Stefan hasn't said before, but it isn't something explicitly described in UPB either. I think that making it part of the theory is necessary to further facilitate its understanding. To synthesize: UPI's are mutually agreed interactions, voluntary negotiations, self defense scenarios. It is 'right' to do these. RPI's are interactions without permission that hold a probability of future permission. Theft, assault, etc. It is 'wrong' to do these. Evil interactions are those which are impossible to permit after the fact, and only murder fits this category. It is evil to murder. RPI's done under the threat of murder are evil by association. It is coercion to do so. Violations of property rights are RPI's as long as they are not done under the threat of murder. At the introduction I said that UPI would examine interactions and not just principles. To do that we need to ask a series of questions and then determine the outcome like a flowchart of events. 1- Was it a mutually voluntary interaction? Yes) It's moral No) See 2 2- Were the property rights of the victim trespassed? Yes) It's wrong No) It's mean 3- Was the victim's life threatened through force? Yes) It's evil No) It's still wrong 4- Was it an accident? Yeah, what if it was an accident? Accidents: By the very nature of reality, accidents are impossible to eliminate from the world. It is a feature of the chaotic relativity we experience that unintended interactions will occur. To distinguish an accident from negligence we would have to prove that there was no intention from the part of the perpetrator, no intention from the receiver to receive, and no known measure to avoid it or intention to avoid it. If we know that good brakes are necessary for safe driving, a failure to have good brakes and the resulting crash wouldn't be an accident, but negligence. If we are driving and a wild goat suddenly lunges into the car, we know there wasn't any way to prevent that from our part, nor from the goat's part since it's just an animal, it is safe to call it an accident. Maybe we steer away from it and hit another car in the process. It's a series of unfortunate and chaotic events. A lethal accident is categorically different from murder because it had no intention from either party, and no reasonable preventability. So you cannot escape the chaotic nature of reality that creates accidental interactions, therefore these do not fall under a category of wrongdoings. You cannot also forgive, or retro-permit, an accident because there is no voluntarily inflicted trespass of property rights. You can't turn it into a voluntary association since the person causing the accident had no intention in the first place to do it. It would be like trying to ascribe volition from me to you, and that's mind control, which doesn't work. So accidents fall in the category of universally permissible interactions because to not-permit accidents goes against the very nature of reality, that chaos is inevitable. However, you cannot encourage an accident to happen because to do it would no longer create an accident, but a moral interaction. If you were to say that you could cause "accidental murder" it would be a logical contradiction. You could ask for reparations of an accident, but you cannot ascribe immorality to the causing person since it was outside his volition. I said that murder is unforgivable by the victim since the victim is literally unable to do so, but what if they were accidentally killed? Wouldn't that be unforgivable too? Well, not from a certain perspective. When we agree to interact with reality we are consenting to its chaotic nature. We realize that a lightning could strike us, a falling piano could smash us, an earthquake could kill us. Accidents are already part of the consent we partake in when we interact with our chaotic reality. 4) Was it an accident? There's nothing to forgive nor to condemn. The Question: Why should I be moral? Under the framework of UPI this question has some interesting repercussions. Let's remember that ethics concerns itself with interactions, not simple actions. That is, not all behaviors are considered in ethics, only those actions that exchange energy between at least two agents. A simple action is owned by the actor, but an interaction is owned by at least two agents - a giver and a receiver. If you as a giver ask the question "why should my caused interactions be moral or universally permissible?" you would be asking "why can't I judge my interactions by myself?". This is because if you could judge your given interactions then victims could be blamed for the perpetrator's actions. The two agents involved own the interaction, not just the giver or perpetrator. It falls on the receiver's end to permit or retro-permit interactions with perpetrators. In other words, you have to behave in universally permissible ways because you cannot be your own judge. If you want to declare immunity from moral judgments you would have to deny the agency of the other person, ascribe it to yourself, and absolve yourself of any violation. So, from the giver's side there is a negative answer: Because you cannot give yourself permission to interact with another person's property by yourself. This would imply that there is a positive answer from the receiver's end instead if we follow the symmetry of the equation. The question of "Why should I behave morally" looks different from the side of the receiver. What the receiver would ask is "Why should other people respect my property rights and my agency?". Another way of putting it is "Why shouldn't you murder me?". This reveals a contradiction in the logic of attempting to question morality. If you allow people to murder you, then it wouldn't be a murder. And the same from any other question of property rights. If you allow the trespassing of your property then it is not a trespassing. This is explained in UPB repeatedly already. The only way of escaping this logical trap would be to state that you have no self awareness, by which you would have no agency, by which you would have no causality, by which you would have no property rights. Well, if I were to believe your argument against your self awareness, I would have no choice but to consider you mentally incapable, and call a professional to assist you. It is then that if the receiver asks "Why should other people initiate universally permissible interactions with me?" the positive answer is: Because I have self awareness, and that grants me the agency to give or take permissions over my property as I wish. To deny this would be to plead insanity to the judge. The catch-22 is that declaring yourself insane proves that you have the reason to realize it, and thus you are sane. The question of why should we be moral cannot be answered without the context of a moral theory, and in this case UPI. If you tried to answer it without context, you would just say "because!" and you'd have fallen into the trap of the nihilist. That is because it is impossible for a person to be alone in the world, and be good or evil at the same time. To be good is to be good to others. To be evil is to be evil to others. And when you ask "Why should I be good?" it can only be answered in two ways, from the giver and from the receiver - not from a third and uninvolved party trying to troll a philosopher. In UPB, however, a person alone in the universe would be considered good because it is not-stealing, or not-murdering. In this sense UPI does deviate from UPB, but I wouldn't mourn this difference at all. I think it is a better interpretation of what being moral means at all, if you ask me, but I'm biased anyway. The final word: UPB & UPI & NAP When you use UPB to prove the NAP you find that there is a gap in the process. UPB is a meta-ethical theory of all behaviors, and the NAP is a moral rule against aggressive behaviors, but the moral theory in the middle of the equation seems to be missing. UPB is the grandfather and the NAP is the grandson, but where's the father? UPB only deals with moral theories, not moral actions. In that way, UPI is a theory of moral interactions that fills the gap between both the larger theory of behaviors, and the lower ground of rules to moderate behaviors between moral agents. The argument when there is only UPB and NAP looks like this: -Why should people follow the NAP? Because it's the only principle that passes the test of UPB -Why should I believe in UPB? Because denying it confirms UPB -Why should I be moral then? Because UPB is true -That doesn't answer my question I don't care. If it's true, you should follow it -Just because something is true doesn't mean that I have to follow it Right, but that doesn't invalidate the theory -I know, I'm just asking why I should change my behavior to follow it I don't know, it's up to you to choose to be virtuous, and have justice, and it will save the world... Suffice to say that the moral doubter is left unsatisfied and devolved into nihilism or egoism, and has no answer as to why he shouldn't be a jerk to other people. But let's try it with UPI and see what comes out. And if I rigged the conversation, well, I came up with it so I'm biased. We can try it for real later. -Why should people follow the NAP? Because you, as a receiver of moral interactions, cannot avoid having the capacity to deny people access to your property, or give them permission. -But what if I want them to trespass my property? That would be a voluntary, or universally permissible interaction instead. -Yeah, but what if they violate my property, but I don't complain about it? Then that's just a forgiveness, or retro-permission. It's part of the UPI theory. -Ok, but what about what I personally should do? Why should I follow the NAP? Why shouldn't I steal? Whether you follow or not the NAP isn't for you to judge. Other people, the receivers of your interaction, are the ones who judge whether you are violating them or not. -That's a bit confusing, can you explain it to me a little simpler? Sure, what I mean is that even if you were to violate the NAP in the absolute, wait, do you follow me there? -On the absolute? Yeah. - You mean, if I were to break the NAP in theory over any little thing? Right, so every single tiny violation of property rights that you do is technically wrong. -Ok, and then? That's what I'm saying! Even if I touch you, or do something you don't like, or take your shoes, or step on your lawn, you could shoot me for trespassing your property! How crazy is that? I know, I know, that's what I am trying to explain. It doesn't have to be like that. There's leniency. -What do you mean by leniency? I mean that not all incursions into property are evil. All interactions between agents occur when their private property comes into contact with each other, right? -Right. So my body would be my property, and your lawn yours. Yes, ok. That is not an evil interaction. To trespass into my lawn is technically wrong, I didn't let you in, but it's not unforgivable either. There's reasonable ways of letting things pass. -So you're not going to shoot me if I overstep, or if I take something, or if I (etc)? No, it's not like that. If you were to initiate lethal force against me I would have no choice but to defend myself. Don't you agree? -Yeah, I don't want to argue against self defense, that as much I understand. Sure, I'm glad we understand each other at least on that. -What if I stole money from you? Would you shoot me then? Steal money how? -Like, if I were to take your wallet when you weren't looking. I'd like to have my wallet back. -Yeah, but I took it, and then I ran away. Ok, so if I were to find you, and ask for my wallet back, would you give it to me, with all the money intact? -I guess I would... Right, so you were just pulling a practical joke on me. It's a prank. Nobody has to get shot for that. -On second thought, I won't give it back What are you going to do with it? -I'm not giving it back I'm assuming then that you would use force to protect the wallet from me taking it back -Yes In that case you have initiated the use of force against me, and I can use force to get it back -No! Yes I can! You agreed on self defense. -Darn, you win this time. All in a day's work. So from that highly biased towards me conversation you can see that if you argue against UPI you don't have to immediately jump in the argument of performative contradictions because arguing against UPI doesn't confirm UPI in the way it happens with UPB. Yes, technically a debate is a universally permissible interaction, but the fact that you chose a UPI to argue doesn't mean that RPI and evil interactions exist either. It could be that evil doesn't exist and all interactions are universally permissible, but as we've seen in the theory, that can't be validated (I hope) - but the act of debating it doesn't prove it either. However, as the debate above showed, there is an unavoidable annoyance that I like to call The Asshole Zone. The ASZ is the zone of interactions were it is just too much work to restitute property and assholes can take advantage of people's patience or leniency. This is why trolling exists, and 4chan exists, but I don't know how to get rid of it in any sensible way other than "don't be an asshole". Epilogue: If you're already someone who is convinced of the validity of UPB you might be wondering why you should care about another theory on top of it. UPB was never intended to be a theory of ethics, but a method, like the scientific method, to validate or invalidate moral hypothesis. In science you would propose a scientific hypothesis, run it through the scientific method, and then either validate it is a scientific theory or discard it. UPB is only the method, not the theory. What I propose with UPI is the ethical theory itself. Not the method to validate it. It is not my intention to discredit or reject UPB, on the contrary. It is an effort to build something that actually guides behavior and provides answers to people hell bent on erasing any and all moral idea from planet Earth. And that includes my own nihilistic tendencies as well. This essay is the direct result of trying to cope with UPB and understand it. In that process I also caught up on its criticisms that could almost be called arguments, but ultimately end up being nothing more than whining. It is totally unproductive to try to discredit or disavow any theory without trying to find the answers to the gap it would leave by its absence. In science it would be a waste of time to go into a lecture only to complain that maybe Einstein was wrong about General Relativity without any reason why and just yell like a monkey that science is based on assumptions. In that sense, this is the result of my personal struggle with secular ethics, and I hope it can either be improved or discarded. But please, if you want to say it's wrong, also tell me what is right instead.
  21. Hello, While reading UPB on page 68 I came across the APA concept (Aesthetically Positive Action) and how "being on time" qualifies as APA. A few paragraphs later the example of "liking jazz" is brought up and how it is not APA because one cannot universalize "subjective preferences are universally preferable" But this same idea can be applied to "being on time" since some people might like being on time and some don't and being on time can be a subjective preference. When talking about APA Stef says: "For instance, if my APA is: “be on time,” then it can be a universal standard that can be totally avoided. I cannot forcefully inflict this APA on you because you do not have to be my friend, you do not have to be on time, you do not have to respect or follow my preferences in any way whatsoever." but the same concept can be applied to "liking jazz" For instance, if my APA is: "liking jazz" then it can be a universal standard that can be totally avoided. I cannot forcefully inflict this APA on you because you do not have to be my friend, you do not have to "like jazz", you do not have to respect or follow my preferences in any way whatsoever." What am I missing? Thanks,
  22. I believe there is a rather severe problem with UPB that has not been addressed. Comments welcome. The Problem in a Nutshell: All behaviors have a subset of circumstances for which avoiding them is UPB. For example, murder is the subset of killing that is against one's will (which I will substitute unwanted for brevity). Since all behaviors have this subset, all behaviors become violations of UPB when someone subject to them doesn't want them. Therefore, UPB cannot be the basis for determining moral from immoral behavior, because any behavior can be unwanted, and thus doing any behavior in an unwanted circumstance would violate UPB. Elaboration: UPB states murder is wrong because, it is universally preferable to not be murdered. Why is it universally preferable? Because murder is defined as unwanted killing. So far, so good, albeit tautological. Now let's make a new compound word "unwanted-killing." Unwanted-killing = murder, so unwanted-killing is prohibited by UPB. Again, this is fine. Let's make up another new word: unwanted-looking. For the same reasons that it is UPB to avoid doing unwanted-killing, it is also UPB to refrain from unwanted-looking, because in all cases unwanted-looking is by-definition unwanted, so looking when it is unwanted is a violation of UPB. We could make another word, unwanted-disagreement, and another, and another... And herein lies the catastrophic fault: doing ANY form of unwanted-behavior is a violation of UPB. Since any behavior has as a subset of circumstances in which the behavior is unwanted, all behavior is potentially a violation of UPB (dependent on whether or not someone does not want the behavior). Therefore UPB cannot be the basis for deciding moral behaviors, because any behavior if it is unwanted by anyone at the time of the behavior is prohibited under UPB. Example: If you disagree with me when I don't want you to, then you have violated UPB by committing unwanted-disagreement, which is logically (from the reasoning of UPB) the same as unwanted-killing (murder). Obviously, we can't base morally correct behavior on a criterion that prohibits unwanted-disagreement. Extra credit: The reason the above flaw in UPB is not more obvious is because the words murder, rape, steal, assault, "peeping" all imply the unwanted part in the definition of the word (i.e., unwanted killing, unwanted, sex, unwanted taking, unwanted touching, unwanted looking at someone undressed). The reason not doing them is universally preferable is because unwanted is in the definition. The usual discussions of UPB don't take into account all of the other unwanted behaviors that would be covered by UPB (thus exposing the flaw), because we don't have words to describe those behaviors (e.g., unwanted-disagreement).
  23. Many times during call-in-shows, a caller asks Stefan if x is immoral. This is usually followed by Stef saying that x is immoral because it violates the non-aggression principle (NAP) or x is not immoral because it does not violate the NAP. The latter statement obviously implies that only what violates the NAP is immoral. But is this true? If so, is it not immoral to pressure a person into doing something dangerous or to lie to a person in a situation where you know that lying would lead to that person being harmed? And what about suicide, where you're not using force against anyone but at the same time are knowingly inflicting close ones with immense grief? Or are these examples still using some sort of force? Now I've read Stef's book on UPB a few times and in the book he says that the initiation of force is immoral because it is unavoidable from the victim's perspective. The above examples are situations where you're not using the initiation of force but are putting people in unavoidable situations. So are they still immoral or are they simply aesthetically negative? If so why?
  24. What makes something good, well, good? How does an action acquire the characteristic of being good? The establishment is "because it is not immoral according to universality" however I'm not too sure about that. It would be like saying that everything that is not a fish is a bird. But there are frogs and snakes and ardvarks too out there, so what is it? I'm going to propose the case that a neutral state is necessary to have a clear unambiguous distinction between what's good and bad. Making moral theories without a neutral state is akin to doing mathematics without the number zero. The proposal is to add a zero to the ethical equation, basically. It looks like this: -1 <<< N >>> +1 Where "bad" is -1, the "good" is +1, and N represents the "Natural/Normal/Neutral/Not-bad State of Affairs when there is no breaking of universal ethics". N state for short. The N state is what could be called peace, or justice, or happiness, etc. It is said rather easily that if you are not bad, you must automatically be good. Using the analogy of numbers, it's like saying that if you are not a negative number, you must be a positive number. Or if you are not an electron, you must be a proton. Or if you are not black, you must be white. But that's not how it works in the world. You can be a neutron, you can be a zero, you can be a color of the spectrum. So what's good, then? The good is not the "not bad". Instead, the good is the "anti bad". (-1) + (+1) = 0 or N For good to be good, it must cancel the bad. For bad to be bad, it must cancel the N. (-1) + N = (-1) For something to be N, it can't alter the value of the good or the bad. For example, playing the saxophone isn't going to stop anyone from committing murder or theft or anything like that. It's just an N thing to do. Is the saxophone player bad for not going out at night dressed as a bat to stop crime? No. Is he good, then? Not good either. Is being N wrong, then? I don't think so. It simply is inconsequential to affect the bad, nor advance the good. Why the N state clears ambiguations: If there's a crime, and there are two people nearby - one rushing to stop it, and the saxophone player notices it and flees from the scene - both would be good without the N state. Fleeing from crime, and rushing to stop crime would both be "not bad" and have the same value without the N state. Since fleeing and rushing are actions of opposite direction, this can't be true. Having a positive action for the good also signals a path for what ought to be done, rather than just having a set of rules for what not. The good then is the set of proactive and reactive measures to stop the bad from attacking the N state. To defend it, to restore it after it has been unbalanced, and to prevent further intrusions of the bad. Anyway, these are just the thoughts I've had recently. What do you think?
  25. Hi everyone, I was just on the call in show and wanted to offer a possible refinement for the communication of the UPB arguments. Unfortunately we got a bit sidetracked and I felt like we only got to the real guts of what I wanted to say close to the end and it we didn't get to spend much time on it. So I would like to also post it here and get some feedback on whether people think its a valid contribution. I used the murder example. Very often Stef has said that two men can't murder each other at the same time, or some variation of this. After listening to so much of his work, I understand his arguments, but I don't think this is the best way to communicate them. I think it would be clearer and more accurate to say that a person cannot kill another person… and have both of those people call that singular action 'good', and have the concept of murder still be valid. If the person being killed calls that action 'good' then the concept of it being a murder vanishes. I would even go so far as saying that the judgement of the person being acted upon, at the moment they are being acted upon, is the smallest discreet criterion for whether the act exists as a 'murder' or not. The person doing the acting has already expressed their preference, because they are doing the acting. But at the time that the killing of the person being killed has been put into place, if the person being killed wishes that action to happen, it is not murder, but if they do not, it is murder. So the defining characteristic is the consent or lack of, of the person being killed. As I said in the call, I think it is potentially misleading to say that two people cannot murder each other, because as i said I think they can, or at least both have the goal to be mutually corrupt and try to kill the other person, whilst not being killed themselves. But what cannot happen, and have the concept of murder be sustained, is that one person kills another person, and that both people call that singular act 'good', or preferred. If the person being killed prefers that action, it is not murder. If they don't, it is murder, but the two people have opposite moral judgements of the same act, and therefore that act cannot be called universally preferable. So I guess the guts of what I was trying to say is that instead of talking about whether two people can murder each other at the same time… I would refine it to... "One person cannot murder another person… and have both of those people call that action good". I think a huge benefit with this way of saying it is that it shows that the consent of person being acted upon is necessarily binary, either the want that to happen or they don't. And so that each of these major actions must necessarily be universally preferred or not, that their categorisation must also be binary. The second is that is puts the emphasis one the moral judgement of the action. A lot of people get caught up with whether someone can murder someone else. Of course they can, but according to the theory, they cannot perform that action which is not preferred the person being acted upon, and still logically claim to be acting in universally preferred behaviour. Stef was right to point out the comparison to Maths… someone can get the wrong answer in Maths, but just because they failed to act in accordance with the theory, doesn't mean that Maths is invalid. And similarly, the way I would communicate murder above, puts the emphasis on whether both people would call it a preferred action. And they would not so it fails the theory. If they did… then the categorisation of murder vanishes. What does everyone think about this slightly different way of saying it?

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