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does violence automatically promote APA to UPB?

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On page 69 of the UPB book, Stef says, "Since APAs are not enforceable through violence – you cannot shoot a man for being late – then rape cannot be an APA, since rape by definition is a sexual attack enforced through violence."

 

Does this mean that the violence in the act of rape determines that moral propositions about rape must be in the category of UPB instead of neutral or APA? Previously I had thought that the victim's justified response made that determination. "morality is defined as an enforceable subset of UPB" page 76. I was reading "enforceable" as "victims can defend themselves with force," but in the context of page 69 it seems it can also mean any time the violator has initiated force.

 

So how about theft then? In some cases, a sneak thief can take your stuff without touching you. Someone tried to grab my friend's purse once while we were in an outdoor cafe, she had it on the ground next to her chair. UPB or APA?

 

Similarly, fraud often involves no violence or threat. UPB or APA?

 

What criteria does UPB use to categorize moral propositions describing nonviolent crimes as UPB, if there are any?

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a sneak thief can take your stuff without touching you. Someone tried to grab my friend's purse once while we were in an outdoor cafe, she had it on the ground next to her chair.

 

Doesn't matter. If she owns herself, she owns the effects of her actions, such as money she's earned, and therefore anything she purchases with that money. That purse is her property so for somebody else to exercise ownership over it, even if they don't touch her body, is immoral.

 

Fraud is a kind of theft with the victim's participation. In the internet age, it's kind of hard to be swindled and blame somebody else for your voluntary entry into a bad decision.

 

What criteria does UPB use to categorize moral propositions describing nonviolent crimes as UPB, if there are any?

 

To me, violence is the initiation of the use of force. Summed up as theft, assault, rape, and murder. As such, I don't think there's any such thing as a non-violent crime.

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On page 69 of the UPB book, Stef says, "Since APAs are not enforceable through violence – you cannot shoot a man for being late – then rape cannot be an APA, since rape by definition is a sexual attack enforced through violence."Does this mean that the violence in the act of rape determines that moral propositions about rape must be in the category of UPB instead of neutral or APA?

 

Not exactly. What makes rape fail the test of UPB is that the preference cannot be universalized because by definition. Rape requires one person to want the sex, and another to not want it. Since the act of rape requires two preferences that are opposite of each other, the preference for rape cannot be applied to each human being, meaning rape cannot be universalized.

 

Violence is more of a categorical term. Rape is not wrong because violence fails the test of UPB and rape involves violence; rather rape is wrong because it fails the test of UPB, and this is what makes rape an act of violence.

 

If violence is a term to describe unethical interactions that involve the use or threat of physical force, then rape, murder, and the threat of murder would all be considered violent because they involve the use or threat of physical force. Fraud and theft would not be considered violent by this definition as they do not involve the use or threat of physical force, yet this would not at all imply that fraud and theft are ethical, because ethics are determined by the methodology of UPB, not a categorization of its conclusions.

 

Previously I had thought that the victim's justified response made that determination. "morality is defined as an enforceable subset of UPB" page 76. I was reading "enforceable" as "victims can defend themselves with force," but in the context of page 69 it seems it can also mean any time the violator has initiated force.

 

According to UPB, any conclusions of a theory apply to everyone. If a victim has the ability to respond to an unethical situation with force, then all people must also have the ability to respond with force universally. For instance, if I am tied up and about to be thrown overboard, you do not need my consent in order to use force against my captors in order to be ethically justified because anyone has the ability to use force on my behalf.

 

There is a part in the book that covers this pretty well.

 

So how about theft then? In some cases, a sneak thief can take your stuff without touching you. Someone tried to grab my friend's purse once while we were in an outdoor cafe, she had it on the ground next to her chair. UPB or APA?

Similarly, fraud often involves no violence or threat. UPB or APA?What criteria does UPB use to categorize moral propositions describing nonviolent crimes as UPB, if there are any?

 

These examples are covered pretty well in the book, so I won't exactly address them. But I will say that when in doubt, use the methodology. Take a behavior and the preferences involved, and then attempt to universalize them, and if it passes, apply other common sense ideas like the coma test.

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Doesn't matter. If she owns herself, she owns the effects of her actions, such as money she's earned, and therefore anything she purchases with that money. That purse is her property so for somebody else to exercise ownership over it, even if they don't touch her body, is immoral. Fraud is a kind of theft with the victim's participation. In the internet age, it's kind of hard to be swindled and blame somebody else for your voluntary entry into a bad decision.  To me, violence is the initiation of the use of force. Summed up as theft, assault, rape, and murder. As such, I don't think there's any such thing as a non-violent crime.

I agree with what you say in general, but I am not asking about ownership, etc. I am asking about the criteria Stef uses to draw the line between aesthetically preferred actions and universally preferred behavior. Stef says it has to do with stuff being inflicted or avoidable. Now that I think of it, he himself uses an example where someone leaves their wallet on a park bench and walks away, on page 52. Doesn't really clear things up for me.Your last paragraph uses "violence" in an unusual way, as in I can use force or violence on you without touching you or nearly touching you or threatening to touch you or putting you at serious risk of being touched. Do you think Stef intends that same meaning when he uses that word in the book? I think this is unusual enough to deserve a definition and a bit of discussion somewhere. I am not clear on the line between the inflicted and the avoidable, which seems to be the criterion separating UPB and APA.

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Your last paragraph uses "violence" in an unusual way, as in I can use force or violence on you without touching you or nearly touching you or threatening to touch you or putting you at serious risk of being touched.

 

I don't see "touched" as being significant. You can initiate the use of force to steal my car without touching me, but this would not make the stealing of my car any less forceful or immoral.

 

I will re-examine my use of the word violence. I believe it stems from two things. The first being that people are so complacent or oblivious to the gun in the room that calling it violence helps to shock them into the possibility that maybe it's not a lullaby they're listening to. The second being that many people see "initiation of the use of force" and interpret it as "force" despite "initiation" being the key term.

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Not exactly. What makes rape fail the test of UPB is that the preference cannot be universalized [...]Violence is more of a categorical term. Rape is not wrong because violence fails the test of UPB and rape involves violence; rather rape is wrong because it fails the test of UPB, and this is what makes rape an act of violence..

I am not asking about universality, the point is that some universal moral propositions that pass the coma test and 2 guys in a room test etc. are aesthetic and not enforceable (e.g. "be on time"), others are ethical and enforceable. I am having trouble understanding how Stef draws the line. He has plenty of discussion in the book, but I am still confused. I was hoping someone could paraphrase or summarize the idea briefly. I want to look at examples of stuff that is sort of in the middle, and see what the process for deciding is.Does proposition X, once it passes the universality tests, get classified as UPB automatically because it prohibits behavior that is violent, or because the rule must be enforced by physical force? Could there be a universal moral proposition that described some trivial initiation of force and categorize it as APA? We started out discussing and example of the opposite, where we have to torture the semantics to get certain sorts of theft to count as violent, yet theft is definitely UPB.

I don't see "touched" as being significant. You can initiate the use of force to steal my car without touching me, but this would not make the stealing of my car any less forceful or immoral. I will re-examine my use of the word violence. I believe it stems from two things. The first being that people are so complacent or oblivious to the gun in the room that calling it violence helps to shock them into the possibility that maybe it's not a lullaby they're listening to. The second being that many people see "initiation of the use of force" and interpret it as "force" despite "initiation" being the key term.

This is an interesting digression, but my original question is about how to separate APA and UPB. So, is car stealing a UPB violation or an APA violation, and what objective process should we use to make that decision?

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I was also struggling with this issue. It seems that the UPB book uses two different definitions to distinguish the categories 'ANA' (aesthetically negative actions) from 'evil':Definition 1. whether the behavior is inflicted on othersDefinition 2. whether the behavior may be violently opposed Examples of the use of definition 1:p.48 "Ethics is the subset of UPB which deals with inflicted behaviour"p.70 "aesthetically negative actions (ANAs)"... "by definition they can be avoided" Examples of the use of definition 2:p.48 "ethics or morality will refer to enforceable preferences"p.87 if it is "evil, then it can be prohibited by using force, since that is one of the very definitions of evil that we worked out above"The two definitions are equal only under the following assumptions:Assumption 1. violence is allowed to defend against any inflicted behaviorAssumption 2. defending against inflicted behavior is the only case in which violence is allowed Definition 1 is in my opinion the only workable definition, because it focuses on properties of the behavior (whether or not it is inflicted), while definition 2 is actually more of a conclusion.To clear up the situation, I would recommend to drop definition 2 (enforceability), and only accept it as a conclusion when its two contestable assumptions (listed above) are proven.

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how to separate APA and UPB.

 

The separation comes with the terms or the language more precisely... One is 'universal', the other is 'aesthetic'. Aesthetic's are subjective preferences that come with exceptions. Universals don't have exceptions. Which is why for instance lying can never be a violation of UPB. Because expecting me to tell you where my wife is, with the intent of killing her, would be one important exception in this regard.

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The separation comes with the terms or the language more precisely... One is 'universal', the other is 'aesthetic'. Aesthetic's are subjective preferences that come with exceptions. Universals don't have exceptions. Which is why for instance lying can never be a violation of UPB. Because expecting me to tell you where my wife is, with the intent of killing her, would be one important exception in this regard.

I am so confused. "It is aesthetically positive (universally preferable but not enforceable through violence, such as “politeness” and “being on time”)." page 64."In general, we will use the term aesthetics to refer to non-enforceable preferences – universal or personal – while ethics or morality will refer to enforceable preferences. It is universally preferable (i.e. required) to use the scientific method to validate physical theories, but we cannot use force to inflict the scientific method on those who do not use it, since not using the scientific method is not a violent action." page 48.

I was also struggling with this issue. It seems that the UPB book uses two different definitions to distinguish the categories 'ANA' (aesthetically negative actions) from 'evil':Definition 1. whether the behavior is inflicted on othersDefinition 2. whether the behavior may be violently opposed [...]Definition 1 is in my opinion the only workable definition, [...]

I agree. Stef sometimes uses "inflicted," other times "violently inflicted." I am guessing he intends them to have e same meaning.I think that physical violence always promotes a proposition to ethics. That is, if the UPB violation involves physical violence, it is in ethics not aesthetics. Or if the violation involves no physical violence (e.g. shoplifting) , but enforcement may include physical violence, then it is ethics, not aesthetics. I'm too tired right now to try to find out whether Stef states this or argues for it somewhere. I am not certain.On the one hand, this is very useful when arguing against moral nihilism, it is ruled out by definition. oTOH, it's a bit arbitrary, why should a moral nihilist accept that definition? I hope I find a good explanation when I have more energy, I'll update this post if so.

I don't see "touched" as being significant. You can initiate the use of force to steal my car without touching me, but this would not make the stealing of my car any less forceful or immoral.

In ordinary language, people would not refer to car theft as a violent crime. Similarly with swindlers, embezzlers, etc. Perhaps there is good reason for revising our usage of the word "violent", but I hope you will at least admit you're using it in a different way. 

I will re-examine my use of the word violence. I believe it stems from two things. The first being that people are so complacent or oblivious to the gun in the room that calling it violence helps to shock them into the possibility that maybe it's not a lullaby they're listening to. The second being that many people see "initiation of the use of force" and interpret it as "force" despite "initiation" being the key term.

I am afraid it might just confuse people.

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