Jump to content

Welcome to the Freedomain Radio Message Board


Sign In 

Create Account
If you're interested in joining the philosophical discussion, click "sign in" or "create account" on the right of the page. If you're creating a new account, please be sure to include an explanation as to why you're interested in joining the message board community. This verification requirement is included to cut down on possible troll and spam accounts.

If you have supported Freedomain Radio financially and would like immediate access to the message board - or - your donation status is incorrect, please contact Michael at operations@freedomainradio.com with your information and the situation will be addresses ASAP.
 
Guest Message by DevFuse

LISTEN TO A 24/7 STREAM ON THE NEW FREEDOMAIN RADIO iOS APP!

DONATOR ONLY PREMIUM CONTENT - For more information on donator levels click here


67 Philosopher King files - 74 Gold files - 48 Silver files - 51 Bronze files

One new video and podcast on the Caitlyn Jenner story has been added to the Gold donator section.


If your donator status is incorrect, please contact Michael at operations@freedomainradio.com with the relevant information and it will be corrected as soon as possible.


Photo

Large Error in UPB - Confusing 'Opposite' and 'Negation' (Destroys attempted disproof of positive obligations)

UPB

  • Please log in to reply
95 replies to this topic

#71
Guest_darkskyabove_*

Guest_darkskyabove_*

I admit to being "snarky" in my post (Dishonest: not a chance!). Notice I said "can" be abused, not "is" being abused. My comment was not directed at anyone in particular; rather a general observation. Trane also commented on downvoting without a response. It's one thing to "downvote" for irrelevance, fallacious reasoning, trolling, etc., but, "downvoting" based on disagreement is not a very high watermark. Not to say that I have some crystal ball that allows me to know, but patterns are relatively easy to discern. I, for one, am not that concerned with being "downvoted", as it proves someone read my babble. :thanks:

 

I stand by my observation that Trane brought up a valid criticism. Valid in the sense that it's worth considering; whether it is correct is, as far as I can tell, yet to be determined.

 

Excluding the irrelevancies, the two major attacks on Trane's critique are: 1. Opposite and negation are the same. The secondary defense of this position is that of context. UPB's position (as presented by some members, not from Stefan) is claimed to not require a specific definition. 2. Arguing against UPB proves UPB.

 

I will tackle attack #2 first. As I stated previously: Any theory that claims that disagreement with said theory proves the theory, is guilty of, at the least, circularity. This form of argument is very, very old; but, it is still fallacious. A theory must stand on its merits, and how well it conforms to reality. Yes, I am aware of the potential for erroneously applying physical theory to human action, but, "merits" and "reality" are equally applicable to both.

 

As for attack #1: This has been, adequately, covered in this thread. Not-giving is not the same as taking. The opposite of giving, is taking. What about: not doing anything. This argument is an either-or fallacy: If you're not giving, you're taking. Splitting the horns of the dilemma is rather simple.

 

For the secondary position (that of context), the "coma test" is quite clear. If "giving to charity" is presented as a positive obligation, the "opposite" would be "taking" from charity. The failure to "give", or, to "take" would then be neutral in this artificial scenario. Claiming that the "coma guy" is acting in opposition to the obligation is a mangling of definitions. "Coma guy" is doing nothing, how can his lack of activity be used as a proof of anything.

 

Before attacking me for things I have NOT said:

 

1. I have NOT said that UPB is wrong. (Neither did Trane)

2. In fact, I agree with the overall idea of UPB.

3. I do not, blindly, adhere to anyone's ideas.

4. Valid criticism is worth considering.

5. Anyone who thinks their ideas are "beyond" criticism has fallen into the trap of the Randians.

 

Endnote:

 

When I, "snarkily" write about people's emotionality, and the first response is an emotional tirade, it tends to prove my point.


  • -1

#72
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    Lvl. 80 Philosophysician

  • 2412 posts

Arguing that X must be assumed in order to argue against X (given some additional reasoning) is not at all circular. A circular argument assumes itself. Describing how in order to argue you must accept UPB (with a definition of UPB given) is not the same thing as saying UPB is true because, ... UPB.

 

Also, who said that "opposite" and "negation" are the same thing? Maybe someone did, as I haven't read every post, but that's not what I was saying.

 

Also, you can't just provoke a response from someone and then reject them for responding that way. That's passive aggressive. In one word you completely dismissed PTB's response: "emotionality". Either he had a point or he didn't. Wasn't that your beef? That people were dismissing others prematurely without making a case? Come on guy.


  • 0

Podcast Recommendation: FDR70 How to control a human soul


#73
LuckyNumber23

LuckyNumber23
  • 54 posts
"But propositions are opposed as contraries when both the affirmation and the denial are universal, as in the sentences 'every man is white', 'no man is white', 'every man is just', 'no man is just'." Again, this might not be classical logic, but I'll try to do more research later and I ask Lucky to please explain what he means by classical logic.

 

I think this quote alludes to the square of opposition which came up I believe in the Medieval Ages. In it, Positive and Negative Quantifiers are depicted in a square, and you can instantly see the relations: http://plato.stanfor...entries/square/ I refer to Aristotle's logic as syllogistic logic. While it is by some considered to be classical, it has some serious flaws, as can be seen in the article:  

Suppose that ‘S’ is an empty term; it is true of nothing. Then the I form: ‘Some S is P’ is false. But then its contradictory E form: ‘No S is P’ must be true. But then the subaltern O form: ‘Some S is not P’ must be true. But that is wrong, since there aren't any Ss.

 

By classical logic I mean any system of reasoning that works from axioms, that has two truthvalues, and wherein the truthvalue of a statement can be determined by looking at the combination of parts of the statement. While this does include syllogistical logic I think nowadays most people would attribute this term to predicate logic or propositional logic. Modern logic has either many truth values (think of fuzzy logic) or it works with probabilities (modal logic). It includes the deontologic logic as well where the validity of ethical statements can be checked, especially the claim of universal applicability.


  • 0

#74
kospe

kospe
  • 10 posts

You're right. I misspoke (misstyped?). I only meant to say that it doesn't make sense to describe opposite in the physical sense when describing propositions. "Opposite" can totally describe both, but obviously defining it in the physical sense is only going to confuse the issue regarding opposite propositions.

 

Thank you for pointing that out.

 

You're probably correct, so I guess we should just take those definitions as metaphors.

 

 

@Lucky: Interesting, thanks for the information.


  • 0

 


#75
Trane

Trane
  • 26 posts

Arguing that X must be assumed in order to argue against X (given some additional reasoning) is not at all circular. A circular argument assumes itself. Describing how in order to argue you must accept UPB (with a definition of UPB given) is not the same thing as saying UPB is true because, ... UPB.

 

Also, who said that "opposite" and "negation" are the same thing? Maybe someone did, as I haven't read every post, but that's not what I was saying.

 

Also, you can't just provoke a response from someone and then reject them for responding that way. That's passive aggressive. In one word you completely dismissed PTB's response: "emotionality". Either he had a point or he didn't. Wasn't that your beef? That people were dismissing others prematurely without making a case? Come on guy.

Kevin (and darkskyabove), the relevant problem with 'arguing against UPB proves UPB' is that it only applies to a subset of the book 'UPB'. I.e. you might try and use the performative contradiction argument to show that I cannot consistently claim that objective moral facts don't exist whilst engaged in rational argument. But it would make no sense to use that argument to argue that positive obligations don't exist - since I could consistently claim 'objective moral facts do exist AND positive moral obligations do exist'. Quite obviously there's no contradiction there. The 'you're using UPB to deny UPB' argument can't just be wheeled out to defend anything Stefan ever writes. E.g. responding to an empirical claim regarding the effectiveness of the minimum wage - 'it can't have improved welfare for the poor because you're using UPB to deny UPB!' It just isn't remotely relevant in this case. Given that, the other option available is to claim that negation is identical to opposite. In the thread so far, this has clearly been shown to be false, with a multitude of examples. Therefore, if you really are committed to the growth of FDR and Stefan's ideas, I suggest you encourage him to correct this error (which I don't claim it is impossible for him to do) seeing as it makes the book 'UPB' less credible and so less likely to win favour.


  • 0

#76
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    Lvl. 80 Philosophysician

  • 2412 posts
So you said:

This section is the lynchpin of Stefan’s argument and is combined with the ‘coma test’ to prove that we have no positive obligations. Unfortunately it contained a blatant error, which you’ve probably noticed already. Stefan has confused ‘negation’ and ‘opposite’.

 
But actually he hasn't confused them at all as I'll demonstrate later. First, the quote you took issue with:

The opposite of “virtue” must be “vice” – the opposite of “good” must be “evil.” If I propose the moral rule, “thou shalt not steal,” then stealing must be evil, and not stealing must be good. This does not mean that “refraining from theft” is the sole definition of moral excellence, of course, since a man may be a murderer, but not a thief. We can think of it as a “necessary but not sufficient” requirement for virtue." (p. 65, ‘UPB: A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics’)

 
(Emphasis mine)
 
Here's the problem with the coma test as you describe it:

Showing how Stefan is wrong here has nullified his coma test (p.67). Stefan’s argument is that if we have positive obligations (say, giving to charity), then a man in a coma must be evil, since he is performing the opposite of virtue – not-giving to charity. This is supposedly absurd, since he is unable to avoid his ‘actions’.

But Stefan’s argument fails because the man is not performing the opposite of giving to charity – merely the negation. He need not be virtuous or wicked. The fact that an action is not virtuous does not prove that it is immoral. Eating ice cream may not be virtuous – does this prove that eating ice cream is immoral?

You didn't actually demonstrate any errors Stef made at the point you said this, but ignoring that, you are conflating positive obligations and virtue. Stef does not say that if giving to charity is a virtue, then a man in a coma is immoral.
 
Before quoting what he actually said, here are the moral categories he defines just before Virtue and it's Opposite and the Coma Test:

As mentioned above, propositions regarding universally preferable behaviour fall into three general categories – positive, negative and neutral. To help us separate aesthetics from ethics, let us start by widening these categories to encompass any behaviour that can be subjected to an ethical analysis. These seven categories are:


    [*]
    It is good (universally preferable and enforceable through violence, such as “don’t murder”).
    [*]
    It is aesthetically positive (universally preferable but not enforceable through violence, such as “politeness” and “being on time”).
    [*]
    It is personally positive (neither universally preferable nor enforceable, such a predilection for eating ice cream).
    [*]
    It is neutral, or has no ethical or aesthetic content, such as running for a bus.
    [*]
    It is personally negative (predilection for not eating ice cream).
    [*]
    It is aesthetically negative (“rudeness” and “being late”).
    [*]
    It is evil (universally proscribed) (“rape”). pg 105
    [/list]
The opposite of good is evil, virtue vice, personally positive personally negative, etc. And here's what he actually said:

Intuitively, it is hard to imagine that any theory ascribing immorality to a man in a coma could be valid. Any ethical theory that posits a positive action as universally preferable behaviour faces the challenge of “the coma test.” If I say that giving to charity is a moral absolute, then clearly not giving to charity would be immoral. However, a man in a coma is clearly unable to give to charity, and thus would, by my theory, be classified as immoral. Similarly, a man who is asleep, or has no money to give – or the man currently  charity – would all be immoral.

 
What he is describing is a moral absolute (positive obligation) (the good). Another way of putting it is that it is enforceable through violence that people ought give to charity.
 
I don't believe that he defined the word "opposite" in the book, but google defines it as "diametrically different; of a contrary kind," which is perfectly consistent with "giving to charity" vs "not giving or unable to give to charity". The trickiness with negations is more to do with virtues as defined above which is precisely why you cannot enforce virtues violently.
 
It is actually consistent to say that positive obligations are invalid and have the moral good described in "thou shalt nots" (or "negations").
 
Your assertion that this is an "obvious" error, may be because you don't get it. And to that point, here is Stef (in the same Coma Test section) making the same distinction you do:

At this point, the objection can quite reasonably be raised that if a man in a coma cannot be immoral, then he also cannot be moral. However, earlier we said that the opposite of an immoral action must be moral. If we propose the moral rule, “thou shalt not rape,” then can we call the man in a coma moral, since he does not rape? pg 111

 
So when you portray this like it's some egregious monumental error, you just sound to me like almost everyone who criticizes UPB, thus my canned response.
  • 0

Podcast Recommendation: FDR70 How to control a human soul


#77
Guest_darkskyabove_*

Guest_darkskyabove_*

@Kevin: You were right about my whole emotionality trap.

 

@ProfessionalTeabagger: My apologies for leading you into a reason to be frustrated with me.

 

As to the issue at hand. Let me first say that I accept the sentiment of UPB, and do not claim to be in a position to tell Stefan, nor anyone else, how to act, think, or feel. What I have a (slight) problem with is the consistency of UPB; only in regards to the "coma test".

 

Kevin has presented a good analysis of the UPB argument regarding obligations (positive, or negative), but the missing factor I see is "neutral". In the seven categories quoted, #4 references neutral propositions. I would argue that this applies equally to "actors". We can have a "positive" actor; one whose actions are in keeping with a certain proposition. We can have a "negative" actor; one whose actions are the "opposite", or, not in keeping with the proposition. We can also have a "neutral" actor; one whose actions have no relevance to the proposition.

 

My understanding of a "moral agent" is one who has the capacity, the ability, and the information to make a moral choice. One famous test case is where someone's family is held hostage, on threat of death, who is ordered to execute some immoral objective. Do we consider this person immoral for attempting to fulfill the objective? No, because his ability, and/or capacity, to make a moral choice has been removed. There are other examples, such as a mentally retarded person: do they have the capacity to make a moral decision?

 

It is on these lines that I see a glitch in UPB. How can a person in a coma be used as a proof of anything? They do not seem to meet the criteria to be considered as "moral agents". If they are, problem solved. If not, it would seem appropriate to revise UPB without use of the "coma test".

 

I do not believe that UPB stands, or falls, on this point. I do believe a re-formulation would grant UPB a stonger, more consistence stance.


  • 1

#78
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    Lvl. 80 Philosophysician

  • 2412 posts

My understanding of a "moral agent" is one who has the capacity, the ability, and the information to make a moral choice. One famous test case is where someone's family is held hostage, on threat of death, who is ordered to execute some immoral objective. Do we consider this person immoral for attempting to fulfill the objective? No, because his ability, and/or capacity, to make a moral choice has been removed. There are other examples, such as a mentally retarded person: do they have the capacity to make a moral decision?   It is on these lines that I see a glitch in UPB. How can a person in a coma be used as a proof of anything? They do not seem to meet the criteria to be considered as "moral agents". If they are, problem solved. If not, it would seem appropriate to revise UPB without use of the "coma test".

 

Excellent question!

 

In the Coma Test section, probably the primary reason it's used is to demonstrate the principle of capacity as you described it. One of the necessary prerequisites for a person to be held morally responsible is that they had a choice in how they acted. Morality is objective, but optional unlike our "choice" to be held down by gravity.

 

The coma test ties this concept of capacity (or "avoidability" as it's put in the book) in with opposite moral categories. It confirms our intuition that people in a coma cannot be immoral (nor can they be virtuous), but it also demonstrates the irrationality of unchosen positive obligations. Thou shalt take some action by threat of violence leads to some pretty impractical things as I'm sure you'd imagine. What it ends up looking like is the hostage situation you described.

 

As far as a your question "how can a person in a coma be used as a proof of anything," it would seem to me the question boils down to "if a man cannot be responsible morally for his actions (or lack thereof), then how can a moral argument with him as the moral actor be evaluated?"

 

UPB in general only requires universality and logical consistency. Moral arguments specifically (according to UPB) are to be judged like this:

 

Certain preconditions must exist, or be accepted, in order for ethical judgments or theories to have any validity or applicability. Clearly, choice and personal responsibility must both be accepted as axioms. If a rock comes bouncing down a hill and crashes into your car, we do not hold the rock morally responsible, since it has no consciousness, cannot choose, and therefore cannot possess personal responsibility. If the rock dislodged simply as a result of time and geology, then no one is responsible for the resulting harm to your car. If, however, you saw me push the rock out of its position, you would not blame the rock, but rather me. To add a further complication, if it turns out that I dislodged the rock because another man forced me to at gunpoint, you would be far more likely to blame the gun-toting initiator of the situation rather than me.

 

As we have discussed above, entering into any debate requires an acceptance of the realities of choice, values and personal responsibility.

 

However, these factors are also present in the choice of the color of paint for a room, yet we would scarcely say that selecting a hue is a moral choice. Thus there must be other criteria which must be present in order for a choice or proposition to be moral.

 

We all have preferences – from the merely personal (“I like ice cream”) to the socially preferable (“It is good to be on time”) to universal morality (“Thou shalt not murder”). pg 81

 

The man in the coma then is being evaluated here (like a rock) and by definition cannot be acting immorally (or virtuously). In the same way a mammal is warm blooded, gives live birth etc, and according to that standard a lizard is not a mammal.

 

I actually think that the coma test is a very good and helpful test, and I think it's so helpful for exactly the concerns that you (and Trane) expressed. Because people do make moral arguments that try and hold people who have no choice like they are morally responsible. Children who "disobey" made out to be bad, taxpayers who omit sources of income made out to be thieves. If we are going to be holding people responsible, then they damn well have some choice in their actions. And I think the coma test demonstrates this beautifully.

 

Hope that helps!


  • 0

Podcast Recommendation: FDR70 How to control a human soul


#79
Guest_darkskyabove_*

Guest_darkskyabove_*

@Kevin: Now that you've touched on it, I do remember, upon my first read of UPB, thinking how the "coma test" was similar to a reductio ad absurdum. In that sense Stefan's exposition is, potentially, crushing. But, I'm still left wanting. And, please, don't wrack your brain trying to figure out how to convince me. :) You've done a good job so far. It could be that I'm seeing too much, or too little, and need to shift my perspective.


  • 0

#80
Trane

Trane
  • 26 posts

Excellent question!

 

In the Coma Test section, probably the primary reason it's used is to demonstrate the principle of capacity as you described it. One of the necessary prerequisites for a person to be held morally responsible is that they had a choice in how they acted. Morality is objective, but optional unlike our "choice" to be held down by gravity.

 

The coma test ties this concept of capacity (or "avoidability" as it's put in the book) in with opposite moral categories. It confirms our intuition that people in a coma cannot be immoral (nor can they be virtuous), but it also demonstrates the irrationality of unchosen positive obligations. Thou shalt take some action by threat of violence leads to some pretty impractical things as I'm sure you'd imagine. What it ends up looking like is the hostage situation you described.

 

As far as a your question "how can a person in a coma be used as a proof of anything," it would seem to me the question boils down to "if a man cannot be responsible morally for his actions (or lack thereof), then how can a moral argument with him as the moral actor be evaluated?"

 

UPB in general only requires universality and logical consistency. Moral arguments specifically (according to UPB) are to be judged like this:

 

 

 

 

The man in the coma then is being evaluated here (like a rock) and by definition cannot be acting immorally (or virtuously). In the same way a mammal is warm blooded, gives live birth etc, and according to that standard a lizard is not a mammal.

 

I actually think that the coma test is a very good and helpful test, and I think it's so helpful for exactly the concerns that you (and Trane) expressed. Because people do make moral arguments that try and hold people who have no choice like they are morally responsible. Children who "disobey" made out to be bad, taxpayers who omit sources of income made out to be thieves. If we are going to be holding people responsible, then they damn well have some choice in their actions. And I think the coma test demonstrates this beautifully.

 

Hope that helps!

@Kevin, I don't believe your statement here is coherent. For instance - "It is actually consistent to say that positive obligations are invalid and have the moral good described in "thou shalt nots" (or "negations")." You suggest that 'thou shalt nots' are 'negations' - you apparently do not understand what 'negation' means. Also you say I confuse virtues and positive obligations. All that is relevant is whether something is normatively prescribed, i.e. one ought to do so. Stefan, being an amateur untrained in philosophy, does not use the terminology of modern ethics, and so it is very hard to discuss his works, there being no reference points in the literature.


  • 0

#81
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    Lvl. 80 Philosophysician

  • 2412 posts

Stefan, being an amateur untrained in philosophy, does not use the terminology of modern ethics, and so it is very hard to discuss his works, there being no reference points in the literature.

Here's the kind of thing you read when you look up what Stef's education was:

 

I am Stefan Molyneux, the host of Freedomain Radio. I have been a software entrepreneur and executive, co-founded a successful company and worked for many years as a Chief Technical Officer. I studied literature, history, economics and philosophy at York University, hold an undergraduate degree in History from McGill University, and earned a graduate degree from the University of Toronto, focusing on the history of philosophy. I received an 'A' for my Master's Thesis analyzing the political implications of the philosophies of Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. I also spent two years studying writing and acting at the National Theatre School of Canada.

  • 0

Podcast Recommendation: FDR70 How to control a human soul


#82
ProfessionalTeabagger

ProfessionalTeabagger
  • 1062 posts

Here's the kind of thing you read when you look up what Stef's education was:

Trane is aware of these credentials. He's a passive aggressive sophist with a strong resentment for Stef. The claim that Stef is "an amateur, untrained in philosophy" is unlikely to have been used with any good intention. 


  • 0

#83
Trane

Trane
  • 26 posts

Here's the kind of thing you read when you look up what Stef's education was:

That 'A' He received for his master's thesis? "[color=rgb(51,51,51);font-family:Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif;font-size:15px;font-style:normal;font-weight:normal;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)]It took me months to find a thesis adviser, who then gave me an ‘A’ without reading my thesis, mostly to stop me from pestering him. I would argue for particular positions in class, and over and over receive a shrug and ‘well, that’s just your opinion.’ I was aghast at the idea that modern academics was all opinion, but of course I shouldn’t have been." [/color]http://freedomain.bl...ting-elegy.html

His adviser didn't even READ it! So he really shouldn't use it as a credential. Don't you think this is rather dishonest and misleading? What do you make of it?

As you showed, Kevin, he has no philosophical education. He has two degrees in history (his master's was a history degree also "He also holds an undergraduate degree in History from McGill University, as well as a Masters Degree in History from the University of Toronto."). He is an amateur as far as philosophy goes. Teabagger, my 'intention' was accuracy. He listed no credentials in philosophy whatsoever.

Downvoted - but you have no response?


  • -2

#84
Lians

Lians

  • 528 posts

I'm not going to read 3 pages of comments, but I'm going to say that even though logic has a mathematical formulation, you can't just randomly throw mathematical terminology in the mix. The definitions of negative and opposite are context specific. The invertibility property of addition generalises the concept of negation. The concepts of negation and inverse (opposite) are functionally equivalent under addition. However, when it comes to a multiplication operation, the inverse is the reciprocal, not the negative. In other words, invertibility is also a generalisation of a reciprocal.

 

In a binary good-evil context, I don't see any problem in using these terms interchangeably. You are, after all, assigning a moral value to specific actions, not a class of actions. Giving and taking are distinct actions even though we tend to generalize them as opposites. The opposite/negative property doesn't apply to the class that includes both giving and taking. "Refraining from theft," refers to a class of actions that excludes theft. That's why Stef implies it's impossible to assign a moral value to it: "We can think of it as a “necessary but not sufficient” requirement for virtue."

 

EDIT (A more mathematical explanation):

You've got a set A that contains actions and a set M containing only "good" and "evil". UPB defines consistent rules for assigning members of set A to members of the set A x M (Cartesian product of A and M). Negation/inverse are properties defined on the co-domain (A x M), where the negative/inverse of (good, action) is defined to be (evil, action). UPB also introduces a set of operations (tests) defined on the co-domain. These operations (2-men-in-a-room test, coma test etc.) have the goal of determining the internal consistency of a particular moral proposition. This is why UPB is a framework for evaluating moral propositions, not a rule book for proper behaviour. Stefan uses UPB to prove the validity of certain moral propositions, but that's only an application of UPB. The distinction between theory and application isn't well defined in the first edition. The second edition should mitigate this problem.


  • 0

#85
ProfessionalTeabagger

ProfessionalTeabagger
  • 1062 posts

That 'A' He received for his master's thesis? "[color=rgb(51,51,51);font-family:Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif;font-size:15px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)]It took me months to find a thesis adviser, who then gave me an ‘A’ without reading my thesis, mostly to stop me from pestering him. I would argue for particular positions in class, and over and over receive a shrug and ‘well, that’s just your opinion.’ I was aghast at the idea that modern academics was all opinion, but of course I shouldn’t have been." [/color]http://freedomain.bl...ting-elegy.html

His adviser didn't even READ it! So he really shouldn't use it as a credential. Don't you think this is rather dishonest and misleading? What do you make of it?

As you showed, Kevin, he has no philosophical education. He has two degrees in history (his master's was a history degree also "He also holds an undergraduate degree in History from McGill University, as well as a Masters Degree in History from the University of Toronto."). He is an amateur as far as philosophy goes. Teabagger, my 'intention' was accuracy. He listed no credentials in philosophy whatsoever.

That you think the stamp of some authority changes the nature of his credentials only shows your statist mindset. It's the mindset of someone who just assumes education and schooling are necessarily the same thing. The quote you use is from Stef who was being honest. If he had not mentioned his thesis adviser's behavior then you would be none the wiser and by your own standard you would have to accept the credential. This highlights the flaws in the academic system which you seem to respect. By your own standard one could dismiss Socrates because he didn't get an "A" (btw I have read Stef's masters thesis and it deserves an "A" imho). That's how retarded your standards are. 

You say he only has degrees in history but as stated, the graduate degree focused on the history of philosophy. He has studied philosophy for over 20 years and is able to to prove his expertise, knowledge and training quite easily in debates and discussions. I know this means little to someone who requires some academic mark of approval in order to be educated but he is not an amateur. He is a professional philosopher in every way. Your intention was not to be accurate. You are anything BUT accurate. Your intention is to denigrate Stef's standing as a philosopher. You are a passive aggressive sophist. 

Is there any chance the up-voting, down-voting system on posts can be done away with? I'm tired of whiney manginas trying to score pity points from claiming some victim-hood because their comment was down-voted.


  • 0

#86
Trane

Trane
  • 26 posts

It is childish to downvote my above comment, which showed Stefan had been misleading in using his 'A' in his master's thesis as a credential whilst elsewhere admitting that his adviser never even READ it (!!) without offering any response, especially considering that my statement that Stefan had no formal credentials in philosophy was ridiculed. "

I received an 'A' for my Master's Thesis analyzing the political implications of the philosophies of Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.

"[color=rgb(51,51,51);font-family:Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif;font-size:15px;font-style:normal;font-weight:normal;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)]It took me months to find a thesis adviser, who then gave me an ‘A’ without reading my thesis, mostly to stop me from pestering him. I would argue for particular positions in class, and over and over receive a shrug and ‘well, that’s just your opinion.’ I was aghast at the idea that modern academics was all opinion, but of course I shouldn’t have been." [/color]http://freedomain.bl...ting-elegy.html

"You say he only has degrees in history but as stated, the graduate degree focused on the history of philosophy." It was a history degree. This is uncontroversial. Even without his admission that the adviser didn't read his thesis, it is STILL not a credential in philosophy, which explains why Stef is unfamiliar with basic concepts such as utilitarianism which he is unable to accurately characterise (e.g. in his debate with anarchopac.) He has never debated any serious analytic philosopher, even a libertarian like Matt Zwolinski.

Using terms such as 'retarded' shows your immaturity. I have not used such epithets to insult others. How juvenile and anti-intellectual. I know you are emotionally invested in Stefan but please, try and be more objective.


  • 0

#87
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    Lvl. 80 Philosophysician

  • 2412 posts

He has never debated any serious analytic philosopher, even a libertarian like Matt Zwolinski.

Well, that sounds like an awesome opportunity to test it out. Contact Matt or any other "analytic philosopher" you think has a superior understanding of ethics and get this debate going! 

 

I downvoted because your response was a snarky, "win by technicality" kind of response that was insulting to people's intelligence, implying that no one here knows anything about "real" philosophy or ethics. It was just sort of irritating and unproductive.


  • 1

Podcast Recommendation: FDR70 How to control a human soul


#88
Trane

Trane
  • 26 posts

Well, that sounds like an awesome opportunity to test it out. Contact Matt or any other "analytic philosopher" you think has a superior understanding of ethics and get this debate going! 

 

I downvoted because your response was a snarky, "win by technicality" kind of response that was insulting to people's intelligence, implying that no one here knows anything about "real" philosophy or ethics. It was just sort of irritating and unproductive.

To be fair I was pointing out that the only 'credential' vaguely related to philosophy was in fact worthless. I find that to be relevant in this context.


  • 0

#89
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    Lvl. 80 Philosophysician

  • 2412 posts

To be fair I was pointing out that the only 'credential' vaguely related to philosophy was in fact worthless. I find that to be relevant in this context.

Nah, just setup the debate, or debate him yourself. Call in to the show. Test this "real" philosophy and ethics!

 

You are guaranteed not to get anywhere in a forum thread. Have an actual conversation with the man himself. Call into the show and illustrate these supposed logical errors.


  • 0

Podcast Recommendation: FDR70 How to control a human soul


#90
ProfessionalTeabagger

ProfessionalTeabagger
  • 1062 posts

It is childish to downvote my above comment, which showed Stefan had been misleading in using his 'A' in his master's thesis as a credential whilst elsewhere admitting that his adviser never even READ it (!!) without offering any response, especially considering that my statement that Stefan had no formal credentials in philosophy was ridiculed. "

I received an 'A' for my Master's Thesis analyzing the political implications of the philosophies of Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.

"[color=rgb(51,51,51);font-family:Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif;font-size:15px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)]It took me months to find a thesis adviser, who then gave me an ‘A’ without reading my thesis, mostly to stop me from pestering him. I would argue for particular positions in class, and over and over receive a shrug and ‘well, that’s just your opinion.’ I was aghast at the idea that modern academics was all opinion, but of course I shouldn’t have been." [/color]http://freedomain.bl...ting-elegy.html

"You say he only has degrees in history but as stated, the graduate degree focused on the history of philosophy." It was a history degree. This is uncontroversial. Even without his admission that the adviser didn't read his thesis, it is STILL not a credential in philosophy, which explains why Stef is unfamiliar with basic concepts such as utilitarianism which he is unable to accurately characterise (e.g. in his debate with anarchopac.) He has never debated any serious analytic philosopher, even a libertarian like Matt Zwolinski.

Using terms such as 'retarded' shows your immaturity. I have not used such epithets to insult others. How juvenile and anti-intellectual. I know you are emotionally invested in Stefan but please, try and be more objective.

It was a history degree with a focus on the history of philosophy. That it was a history degree does not negate the fact that he studied philosophy formally so you're wrong. Not that that matters very much at all. I rarely heard Stef even mention his formal training. It's people like you who wave their degrees around as if it gives you some authority. Stef is familiar with the concept of utilitarianism and has done pod-casts on it and discussed it many times so you're wrong there too. Your view that he's unable to characterize it accurately based on Anarchopac's characterization of it is just your opinion as is your view on which philosophers (analytically or otherwise) are "serious". Who are you to dictate who and who is not "serious"? Isn't anarhopac serious?  Matt Zwolinski is just as free as to debate Stef as you are. It's not like you would debate him live from anywhere other than behind your keyboard.

When I say "retarded" I mean it literally. Your standards are retarded and I explained why. Allow me to demonstrate again. You say I am juvenile and anti-intellectual. Okay so that's a standard. If you were to have violated that standard while pompously asserting it here then it would be retarded, right? So on the actual video that the original post is taken from you claim Stef may have Dunning-Kruger syndrome because he isn't knowledgeable enough to know he's wrong. Is that juvenile? Is the title of the video "Hilariously bad error that ruins Stefan Molyneux's UPB" juvenile? Is THAT intellectual or anti-intellectual? Is it juvenile when someone suggests this video and you respond with "Nice Find". Is it your intellectual integrity and maturity that makes you pal up with the people who run smear sites against Stef, several of which you mention in that comment section?

 

"I know you are emotionally invested in stefan..."

 

What a snarky statement. Again, directly after setting a standard you break it. Do you think for a second anyone here cannot see straight through your fake civility? Perhaps YOU are emotionally invested as your 13 videos in a row against Stef and constant denigrating comments about him throughout your comment sections would suggest.


  • 0

#91
Lians

Lians

  • 528 posts

I had a quick look at the comments and holy shit... They seem to be handing out these philosophy degrees like candy on Halloween.


  • 0

#92
Trane

Trane
  • 26 posts

 

It was a history degree with a focus on the history of philosophy. That it was a history degree does not negate the fact that he studied philosophy formally so you're wrong. Not that that matters very much at all. I rarely heard Stef even mention his formal training. It's people like you who wave their degrees around as if it gives you some authority. Stef is familiar with the concept of utilitarianism and has done pod-casts on it and discussed it many times so you're wrong there too. Your view that he's unable to characterize it accurately based on Anarchopac's characterization of it is just your opinion as is your view on which philosophers (analytically or otherwise) are "serious". Who are you to dictate who and who is not "serious"? Isn't anarhopac serious?  Matt Zwolinski is just as free as to debate Stef as you are. It's not like you would debate him live from anywhere other than behind your keyboard.

When I say "retarded" I mean it literally. Your standards are retarded and I explained why. Allow me to demonstrate again. You say I am juvenile and anti-intellectual. Okay so that's a standard. If you were to have violated that standard while pompously asserting it here then it would be retarded, right? So on the actual video that the original post is taken from you claim Stef may have Dunning-Kruger syndrome because he isn't knowledgeable enough to know he's wrong. Is that juvenile? Is the title of the video "Hilariously bad error that ruins Stefan Molyneux's UPB" juvenile? Is THAT intellectual or anti-intellectual? Is it juvenile when someone suggests this video and you respond with "Nice Find". Is it your intellectual integrity and maturity that makes you pal up with the people who run smear sites against Stef, several of which you mention in that comment section?

 

"I know you are emotionally invested in stefan..."

 

What a snarky statement. Again, directly after setting a standard you break it. Do you think for a second anyone here cannot see straight through your fake civility? Perhaps YOU are emotionally invested as your 13 videos in a row against Stef and constant denigrating comments about him throughout your comment sections would suggest.

 

Stef showed on that call-in show that he couldn't characterise utilitarianism accurately. Anarchopac corrected him at the time, but it didn't seem like Stefan understood it. I've never heard him quote any modern consequentalist theorists such as Philip Pettit. Whether Stefan has credentials in philosophy is relevant because if you are seeking an education, by definition you are uneducated and so will not be able to tell whether your teacher is knowledgeable or ignorant. That's why you go for a teacher with proper credentials. Stefan uncontroversially has no formal credentials in philosophy other than running his own internet call-in show. He doesn't have a degree in philosophy (well, a basic credential in the real world would be a doctorate from a major institution under a major theorist like Singer or Pettit.) When I say Stefan is an example of Dunning Kruger syndrome I believe I have given good evidence for that (his basic errors, lack of knowledge of concepts, and lack of education in philosophy, and inability to correct mistakes.) Also some of his claims are so obviously false that it is charitable of me to suggest Dunning Kruger - some would say that a claim this brazenly false would have to be intentionally misleading - I think that Stefan is just exhibiting astonishing confirmation bias. He probably actually believes there were no wars in Europe in the 100 years before WW1! I'm not sure what Lians means.


  • -3

#93
PatrickC

PatrickC

    London Meetup organiser

  • 3277 posts

The trouble with you leftists types, is that you obsess about academic institutions and qualifications like Imelda Marcus did with shoes.. Get out and have some fresh air and start thinking for yourself.


  • 0

#94
TheLolGuy

TheLolGuy
  • 36 posts
The period between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War is widely regarded as one of the most peaceful centuries in western Europe. That is not to be taken as to mean there was a peaceful paradise in which no blood was spilt. There was the rise of nationalism, wars of unification, riots and failed revolutions against machinery and governments. However compared to the frequency of wars in the medieval periods and that following WW1, it was relatively quiet.
  • 0

#95
LuckyNumber23

LuckyNumber23
  • 54 posts

I am afraid that Stef is wrong. There were no wars or revolutions between 1813 and 1848, bc the emperors of the time formed a 'Holy Alliance' to oppress their people. In 1848 there were revolutions in many countries, including France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary. From then on there were some major wars, such as:

 

A war between Mexico and France (1838)

The Crimean War (1853-1856)  

A war between Prussia and Denmark (1864)

 

A war between Austrian and Prussia (1866)

 

A war between France and Germany (1871)

 

The war between Japan and Russia (1905)

 

There were numerous other conflicts, and possibly some major ones that I forgot.


  • 0

#96
TDB

TDB
  • 264 posts
I think the coma test follows directly from Stef's idea of universality. (Maybe I should review the text, I'm not sure Stef will go along with me.) If a moral proposition passes the UPB test, it applies to all of us, all the time, everywhere. If we had positive obligations, we could not escape them by arranging to go into a convenient coma. In fact, we can't escape them by dying, or failing to yet be born. We are all obligated, if at all, from the beginning of time to its end. So, negative obligations are okay, positive ones are a big problem. I am capable of fulfilling my negative obligations even after I am dead, and the unborn commit no UPB violations. The problem here is that I don't remember Stef giving much of an argument why we should accept this rather cosmic version of universality, and maybe what I've said sounds as much like a reductio ad absurum as a proof to some persons. (I have a blog entry about universality at http://brimpossible....ersality.html.) With regard to the opposite/negation controversy, I think it calls for a rewrite rather than a repudiation. Swap "opposite" for "negation " and it's fixed. I think trane is technically correct that Stef used the wrong word, but it's not a catastrophic logic fail, it's just bad copyediting. If we have positive obligations, failing to fulfill your obligation rates punishment (speaking strictly, others can use violence to defend themselves against your non fulfillment?) so the man in a coma deserves punishment. This is absurd. I also think that the presentation in the UPB book is confusing. I've put a lot of effort into trying to understand it, and I'm still not sure I could summarize it in a way the Stef would agree with.
  • 0





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: UPB