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Ninth Doctor

Peikoff on date rape

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The legal aspect was always redundant, to my mind. It evokes consequentialism,

a pragmatic "If you get away with it, great". By present laws.

I agree with that, and think it's a great point, but the legal aspect is not without relevance to the total moral decision. If we were discussing whether one ought to pay income tax, we might fairly conclude, "No" if we disregard the subsequent prison time as an affecting aspect of reality. It is an element of reality, so when making a personal moral decision you must take it into consideration or you risk not making your life better.

Likewise, when deciding whether to take someone to bed, the possible legal ramifications should be weighed. Currently, a man has to make a character decision about the woman as to whether or not she is likely to ruin his life and have him sent to prison at her whim. If the legal definition of rape was moved to "the point of genital contact," then it would be the woman's responsibility to ascertain before hand whether or not the man is sensitive enough to stop mid coitus upon request before she let's him engage in the sex act. So, in effect, Peikoff is saying that, yes, morally, a man ought to stop when requested, but no, it should not be "rape," a legal term, since to classify it as such creates a hugely one sided and irrational legal circumstance that's untenable. It's only purpose, really, is to allow women to have sex with men whom they don't know very well or just met. The cost of this privileged is paid by uncareful men with ruined reputations and 20 year prison terms. With Peikoff's alternative, women can predict with a fair amount of certainty whether a guy is the type to stop on request, if they take the time to get to know him before inviting them to bed. I don't think that's an unreasonable requirement and don't think it's much of an issue, honestly. In my life, I can count on one finger the number of times a woman has asked me to stop. So anyway, I see no inherent contradiction in it being a morally correct action to stop upon request while denying that it is a crime that can be proven by a woman's claim alone.

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The legal aspect was always redundant, to my mind. It evokes consequentialism,

a pragmatic "If you get away with it, great".

Besides consequentialism, there’s also positivism at work here. If you can’t prove it was rape, it wasn’t rape. Even if Peikoff were making a strictly legal argument, he hasn’t solved for all time the problem of false rape allegations, or of genuine rapes going unprosecuted. In fact, he isn’t even saying anything helpful. Should all cases against Catholic priests accused of pedophilia, years after the fact, be dismissed for lack of physical evidence? I said before that it’s above my pay grade to dictate how prosecutors ought to do their jobs, and I think it’s the same for Peikoff.

When there’s a rape allegation the police have the woman inspected for marks, and they also have the man inspected. Kobe Bryant went through this the day after his encounter, obviously it needs to be done promptly. I’ve had the experience, and my future biographers will be interested to know that it was the same partner making the forceful oral sex demands, of having my back clawed by a GF who thought, having seen the movie Basic Instinct, that I would like that. Wrong. But, she could have gone to the police the next day accusing me of rape by Peikoff’s criteria, and there would have been at least that much physical evidence. OTOH, often the victim is justifiably afraid to fight back and try to leave a mark, so this is simply not the sine qua non of a rape case.

To get some clarity in my earlier exchange with Grames, I said assume the whole thing is videotaped. Did the camera and microphone have to be there for it to be rape? Of course not. Only to prove it in court.

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So, in effect, Peikoff is saying that, yes, morally, a man ought to stop when requested, but no, it should not be "rape," a legal term, since to classify it as such creates a hugely one sided and irrational legal circumstance that's untenable.

It "should not be 'rape,' a legal term"?

So even if it *were* provable in a court of law that the woman had demanded the man stop, and the man disregarded her (Ninth Doctor supposes a videocamera in his next post), there would be no "crime" here according to the "legal" standard you think Peikoff is proposing?

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It "should not be 'rape,' a legal term"?

So even if it *were* provable in a court of law that the woman had demanded the man stop, and the man disregarded her (Ninth Doctor supposes a videocamera in his next post), there would be no "crime" here according to the "legal" standard you think Peikoff is proposing?

Of course it could be rape, but even with a video, the simple usage of the word "no" does not necessitate that fact. A jury would make that determination..

I don't know if you recall the partial birth abortion debate, but pro-life folks were making a pretty big fuss over late term abortions. Once you had taken out all of the medically necessitated abortions that saved the life of the mother, the number of voluntary abortions in the 3rd trimester were ridiculously small. They were reaching, almost to the point of lifeboats, to try to get a toe in the political door.

This conversation strikes me the same way. How often is it that a woman voluntarily chooses to begin having sex with a man, on camara, changes her mind midway, makes that really clear verbally to him, and has him forcefully and violently continue against her will? One out of a billion or so sexual encounters? If he was a rapist, how often would he have waited for her voluntary consent in the first place? It's such a bizarre tangent that I can't imagine for a second that that is what Peikoff is referencing. He's commenting on usual human sexual interaction. Things like the above are fine for a thought experiment, but do you get from his statements that if the above was video captured he would deny it as a rape? We could even add him confessing to raping her. If he also confesses that he raped her against her will, using clever pain causes techniques that leave no scars, do you think Peikoff would deny him his jail time on moral grounds? Or probably, since most hookups with strangers don't involve a video, and since he said that it would be rape if there was physical marks to help indicate it, he was criticizing the he said/she said dynamic as a legal construct from a philosophers point of view.

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How often is it that a woman voluntarily chooses to begin having sex with a man, on camara, changes her mind midway, makes that really clear verbally to him, and has him forcefully and violently continue against her will? One out of a billion or so sexual encounters?

I don't really know how often that happens. I don't think that's what Peikoff is talking about either. But if we can imagine any scenario where a woman changes her mind -- decides against intercourse once it's already begun -- and I don't think that's necessarily a "lifeboat" type of situation... I think that Peikoff has asserted that it's not rape for the man to continue. I think he doesn't believe such a thing to be rape at all.

I think he's said this clearly. I think he's moved the line from when the woman shows up at the man's hotel room at night to "genital connection," because of the furor his comments initially received. I think he is just as wrong now as he was then. I think the idea that he was speaking in a strictly "legal" context is completely wrong.

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I don't really know how often that happens. I don't think that's what Peikoff is talking about either. But if we can imagine any scenario where a woman changes her mind -- decides against intercourse once it's already begun -- and I don't think that's necessarily a "lifeboat" type of situation... I think that Peikoff has asserted that it's not rape for the man to continue. I think he doesn't believe such a thing to be rape at all.

I think he's said this clearly. I think he's moved the line from when the woman shows up at the man's hotel room at night to "genital connection," because of the furor his comments initially received. I think he is just as wrong now as he was then. I think the idea that he was speaking in a strictly "legal" context is completely wrong.

Right after that he says this,

So, in this sense I do not agree that every time a woman says ‘no’, in any context, no matter whether her husband, no matter what the minor nature of the change, that must be respected. That is simply ridiculous, and can’t be enforced.
Notice the italics to understand what he's referencing.

Before that section he laid out a bunch of examples of how the word "no" can NOT imply rape. Requests for other sexual actions, could for example be why she's protesting. He also stated quite clearly, earlier, that in light of evidence of struggle and what not, it could be prosecuted as rape. He's been talking primarily about what would be legally proper. He said at the very beginning how he agreed that a rational man ought not to want sex with a woman who said no and would be immoral to do so.

Beyond this I don't know what to say(short of diagramming out all of his sentences), except that I disagree that you correctly understand his statements.

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Besides consequentialism, there’s also positivism at work here. If you can’t prove it was rape, it wasn’t rape.

The legal doctrine of "presumption of innocence" also described by the phrase "innocent until proven guilty" is what places the burden of proof upon prosecutors. Few principles of politics or law are as certain and also as uncontroversial as this one. Any minimally competent adult citizen, including myself, you and Peikoff, both can and should know this legal principle and to that extent "tell prosecutors how to do their jobs."

It would be a digression from the thread topic to explore why you think this legal principle invokes 'positivism' (logical positivism? legal positivism?) but the principle that "if you can’t prove it was rape, it wasn’t rape" is correct.

Should all cases against Catholic priests accused of pedophilia, years after the fact, be dismissed for lack of physical evidence?

Multiple accusers and a paper trail of Catholic Church administrative evidence greatly helps to secure convictions or civil judgments in those cases.

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The legal doctrine of "presumption of innocence" also described by the phrase "innocent until proven guilty" is what places the burden of proof upon prosecutors. Few principles of politics or law are as certain and also as uncontroversial as this one. Any minimally competent adult citizen, including myself, you and Peikoff, both can and should know this legal principle and to that extent "tell prosecutors how to do their jobs."

It would be a digression from the thread topic to explore why you think this legal principle invokes 'positivism' (logical positivism? legal positivism?) but the principle that "if you can’t prove it was rape, it wasn’t rape" is correct.

So an act that is rape when the camera and microphone are on, isn’t rape when they’re off? Oh come on. BTW, what if it’s a hidden camera? Surprise, you’re on Candid Camera, Real Sex Edition! The legal system is supposedly designed to let 10 or 100 guilty rapists go free, rather than convict 1 innocent person. Does this mean the 10 or 100 didn’t commit rape? Did O.J. commit murder?

Multiple accusers and a paper trail of Catholic Church administrative evidence greatly helps to secure convictions or civil judgments in those cases.

Thank you for acknowledging that Peikoff’s statement about physical marks does not spell out the be all and end all for evidence in rape cases.

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Beyond this I don't know what to say(short of diagramming out all of his sentences), except that I disagree that you correctly understand his statements.

I understand and accept that we disagree. I've long been convinced that trying to argue to unanimity is a fool's game. Fortunately for us, Peikoff's podcasts are available for anyone who wants to decide for themselves what he meant, and if I otherwise come up with any better way of explaining my position, I'll give it a go.

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So an act that is rape when the camera and microphone are on, isn’t rape when they’re off? Oh come on. BTW, what if it’s a hidden camera? Surprise, you’re on Candid Camera, Real Sex Edition! The legal system is supposedly designed to let 10 or 100 guilty rapists go free, rather than convict 1 innocent person. Does this mean the 10 or 100 didn’t commit rape? Did O.J. commit murder?

Thank you for acknowledging that Peikoff’s statement about physical marks does not spell out the be all and end all for evidence in rape cases.

The legal and the moral are profoundly different contexts. That there is some difficulty with this distinction seems to be a factor uniting the various holdouts still objecting to Peikoff's words. It is not the case that what is legal or unprovable or what one gets away with is therefore moral. The only way I can understand anyone thinking that Peikoff advocates 'rape to the extent that men can get away with it' is that they infer from the legal to the moral, and also think that Peikoff does as well.

Legally yes, there is rape or there is not rape (or any other crime) depending entirely on the available evidence. It does not matter whether there is a camera or if it is hidden, what matters is if the recording gets admitted as evidence. "Proof, or it didn't happen" is an excellent principle which is also good to use in science (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming), philosophy (innate knowledge) and history (the Resurrection of Christ). Rapes and other criminal acts can occur for which there is not enough evidence for a conviction, but moral judgments are still possible by the people involved even if other members of the public can't know what to think with certainty.

Lastly, the fact that it can also be evidence when enough women come forward independently with accusations and testimony to establish a pattern is not the kind of legal detail and qualification I expect from non-lawyer Peikoff. Peikoff is well enough qualified in philosophy to give at least the first word on how a prosecutor should do his job (evidence is required) if not the last word (what qualifies as evidence).

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I understand and accept that we disagree. I've long been convinced that trying to argue to unanimity is a fool's game. Fortunately for us, Peikoff's podcasts are available for anyone who wants to decide for themselves what he meant, and if I otherwise come up with any better way of explaining my position, I'll give it a go.

Fair enough.

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. . . The only way I can understand anyone thinking that Peikoff advocates 'rape to the extent that men can get away with it' is that they infer from the legal to the moral, and also think that Peikoff does as well.

Legally yes, there is rape or there is not rape (or any other crime) depending entirely on the available evidence. It does not matter whether there is a camera or if it is hidden, what matters is if the recording gets admitted as evidence. "Proof, or it didn't happen" is an excellent principle which is also good to use in science (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming), philosophy (innate knowledge) and history (the Resurrection of Christ). Rapes and other criminal acts can occur for which there is not enough evidence for a conviction, but moral judgments are still possible by the people involved even if other members of the public can't know what to think with certainty.

. . .

I'm pretty sure by now that how you and maybe some others are phrasing this is giving some other people an incorrect idea of what you are trying to say. I think you are trying to just say that if there is insufficient evidence, like if it is just coming down to "he said, she said", that people who were not there cannot and should not be able to actually convict somebody of any crime. However, while you mean just that other people can't justifiably conclude that so and so did do that crime, I think it is coming across like you are equating things which cannot be proven to outside parties (and therefore convicted) with things which are not illegal to begin with. Like laws can only be broken if the perpetrator leaves a clear trail of evidence. If somebody kills an innocent stranger in a dark ally with no witnesses, no camera, no apparent motive, no finger prints or hairs, et cetera then they cannot be *convicted* by others of breaking the law (murder in this case of course), but that does not change the fact that they did do something which is not legal (killed somebody by initiating force, ie murder). Other people can't declare him guilty of murder since they can't prove it, but that wouldn't mean the course of history actually changed to undo that killing. The idea that whether or not somebody actually did in fact initiate force depends on if other people learn of it sounds like primacy of consciousness stuff. So, just clarifying you don't mean history is changed based on if somebody gets caught or not probably would help.

Wording, it's causing lots of misunderstandings about what people mean in this thread it seems . . . :ninja:

Also, I think there are a number of people who are still not convinced that certain parts are only talking about what can or cannot and should or should not be able to get somebody *convicted* of rape. This is an alternative option to just thinking the legal and moral aspects are identical.

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