I think the home analogy is indeed apt. And there are literally infinite other examples where the means to an end are quite different than the end. In fact, the entire concept of emergent properties has to do with the fact that things can have properties completely unpredictable from any of the parts that make them up. There is not a parts/whole symmetrical correlation where what makes up something is the same as the endpoint.
Or here is an even simpler example. There are many people who were abused that, rather than become abusers, became extra sensitive and may even have more empathy for people who are suffering than those who did not go through that or than they themselves would have had without that experience. How can you explain that if you say one must empathize in order to lead to empathy on the other end?
This would be impossible, there is no way to learn empathy without being treated empathetically or seeing other people treating each other empathetically. Your example's to the contrary, just for edification are that people watching abuse on TV will suddenly become empathetic. I don't think there is evidence or logic behind that assertion, so if there is some evidence feel free to show me. Your next comment, that children are inherently empathetic and that it has to be beaten out of them, is a more valid argument, so I will address that point.
In your experience, have you ever abused someone into empathy? In your experience have you ever reasoned someone who was unempathetic into empathy without being empathetic towards them?
My statements earlier were about a society based on the NAP. The NAP does not appeal to sociopaths. But if you want a society based on the NAP, you have to wrestle with the question of how to maintain that as the social norm when there are sociopaths within it. Is the answer to simply empathize with the sociopaths? No, that is not enough. And that is my point. A society based on the NAP requires more than just a rule to empathize with everyone. It needs a strategy for what you do in response to those who don't respond to empathy.
I concur, and I didn't mean to imply that you can't defend yourself from abusive people. The point was that when engaging the anonymous masses, the proceed with empathy is the only chance of inspiring the empathy necessary to adopt the non-aggression principle. Empathy will not work on everyone, but it is still the only tool which will work.
I completely respect your plan to empathize with people. And I am not saying that you shouldn't do that. I'm only saying that isn't some overall grand solution. And that's the tone I was getting from the OP was that, after a few conversations went well due to empathy and curiosity, it was interpreted as a grand solution. It isn't a grand solution. But I agree it is a very important ingredient. If I was misreading things and you didn't mean to put it forth as a great overall solution, then my apologies.
It would be helpful to understand an alternative. I mentioned before, you can be abusive, neutral, or empathetic. I am sure you're not advocating abuse, that would be absurd, so I am going to assume you're advocating neutral? Neutral would include, for example, the way you're engaging me now. You're not hostile, but you're not particularly empathetic, it is just sort of like a math or logic problem. This is the best approach for reason and logic and science, no question. The ideal of the NAP is not a scientific principle, it isn't based on empiricism. It is proven through logical syllogism, unquestionable, however it is not adopted because of logical syllogism. If the NAP is rationally irrefutable, it doesn't mean people will adopt it right? Morality is about human behavior, in this context it is about universally preferable behavior. This gets into a really important thing that Stef talks about in his book on UPB, that you can not derive an ought from an is, a concept originated by Hume. Are you familiar with the argument?
(For anyone who isn't, this is a brief explanation http://en.wikipedia....em#Implications)
The idea is that no amount of reasoning about what is morally true will determine how people ought to behave. This philosophical argument gives ground to why neutral approaches to morality don't inspire moral behavior.
The tone I take online really depends on the setting. For example, I come to FDR for philosophy so I tend to take a rational, debate approach a lot. One of the reasons I enjoy FDR is that there are people here who value rational debate and I enjoy that. However, if someone even here is sharing a very personal issue that isn't really a debate topic, I will focus more on empathy and the feeling side of things.
Excellent, so here you can see how in the context of something intimate or personal, empathy is the best way to help the other person. Do you think violent or abusive behavor is personal? I guess that is sort of an insulting and obvious question, of course it is, no one abuses someone out of reason, right?
I really do agree that empathizing as you did was a great thing to do. And I'm not surprised it improved your results. I wasn't trying to knock doing that. I was just trying to put it in context. I don't think you'll always get such a great response to empathizing where it opens them up to changing their mind. And when that happens, there are other approaches to try. And sometimes nothing works and that is what anyone interested in changing minds is up against. So definitely keep empathizing and trying that approach. I will try it more often too. And there is no reason to not empathize with someone, as long as we don't expect it to always be the magic bullet.
I would really love some examples of you actually changing someone's opinion using reason when they were previously opposed to you? I know it is possible, so I'm not arguing otherwise.
I would then ask for the context of the debate itself. Like if I start a dialogue with you where we both agree whoever argument is most reasonable will win out, assuming we're both good on our word, it would be reasonable to believe you or I would change our minds according to the preponderance of logic.
However, when dealing with human behavior, anyone advocating an irrational moral philosophy is not agreeing to allow the preponderance of logic affect him in the first place. The very nature of someone trying to justify immoral behavior is beyond neutral or rational, it is abusive and defensive. That is why even millions of rational proofs won't help people adopt the non-aggression principle when they're own actions and beliefs are in opposition to it. Now, if you find some really empathetic guy who doesn't know anything about the NAP, it is incredibly easy for them to concede. My girlfriend is a good example. I say stealing is wrong, even when the government does it, and she thinks, yeah okay that makes sense and onward we move. She is a moral and empathetic person. People attacking the NAP are not ignorant of the position, they're emotionally opposed to it. Appealing to logic will always only result in more defensive behavior, more arguments, more abuse. Haven't you noticed this pattern?