Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
FredAnyman

Force vs Retaliatory Force

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Nicky,

 

In post #75 you wrote, “I'm gonna stop you right there. To have a conversation about philosophy, you have to be able to have at least a basic ability to form concepts correctly.”

 

What does “correctly” mean?

 

In earlier posts I defined a double standard and provided an example of a double standard. Further, I demonstrated that my example was an example of a double standard based on my definition of a double standard. This should indicate that I have the ability to form concepts.

 

You disagreed with my definition stating that it was terrible. The only explanation as to why my definition was terrible was a simple statement that my definition doesn’t follow the basic principles of concept formation. I told you that I could not accept your determination that my definition is terrible without a further explanation of the principals of concept formation that you espouse.

 

Now, based on your statement above, it seems that in order for me to form concepts “correctly” I have to form concepts in the same way that you form concepts. Your statement implies that if I was able to form concepts “correctly” then I would recognize that my definition of a double standard is terrible and agree with you without question, but since I didn’t agree with you without question it must mean that I do not know how to form concepts “correctly”. Is this what you are suggesting?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm afraid that we have a semantic issue here: does 'retaliation' mean vigorous self-defense'?

 

States vary in this understanding in the way that they write statutes: stand your ground vs use of force only when one cannot flee.

 

They also vary with respect to the use of violence to defend property. For example, i can mace someone who tried to steal my purse, but cannot knife them once they're defenseless (BTW, carrying mace is illegal here in Spain)

 

Pure retaliation means payback post facto, which is clearly illegal everywhere not under harsh interpretations of sharia. To this extent, 'hunting them down is not an option.

 

What is generally agreed upon as 'moral' has been codified as law. So do you seriously want to change the law to be permitted to hunt down and kill someone who stole stuff out of your house?

 

Andie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the discussion has come off the rails because the OP started with the strawman that O'ism considers the use of force as immoral, without the distinction of 'initiation' of force as compared to the use of retalitory force.

Edited by tadmjones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

andie holland,

 

You wrote in post #77, “What is generally agreed upon as 'moral' has been codified as law. So do you seriously want to change the law to be permitted to hunt down and kill someone who stole stuff out of your house?

 

This is an interesting statement as it seems to imply morality is “what is generally agreed upon as ‘moral’”. If this is the case, then, to continue the example, if it was generally agreed upon that hunting someone down and killing them because they broke into your house and stole from you was moral, then it would be moral. And use this implication to answer the question from the original post, if it was generally agreed upon that the use force in a retaliatory manner against someone is moral, then the use of force in a retaliatory manner against someone is moral; if it was generally agreed upon that the use of force in a retaliatory manner against someone is immoral, then the use force in a retaliatory manner against someone would be immoral. Is this what you are suggesting?

Edited by FredAnyman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tadmjones,

 

You wrote in post #78, “I think the discussion has come off the rails because the OP started with the strawman that O'ism considers the use of force as immoral, without the distinction of 'initiation' of force as compared to the use of retalitory force.

 

No “strawman” was intended when the post was written and it even contains a qualifier, “as it appears to be” to demonstrate that I was not make a definitive statement. If you wish to put the discussion “back on the rails”, then you can offer a clarification to the original post. To anticipate this, I will restate the original post as:

 

I have a question concerning the difference between the initiation of force and the retaliatory use of force: If it is, as it appears to be, considered by Objectivism to be immoral to initiate force against someone, then why is it (or is it) moral, or at least not immoral, to use force in a retaliatory manner against someone?

 

(Before going any further, if you are not satisfied with the restatement, please offer your own)

 

Despite the change of wording, the question still stands. To push the conversation further, I will add: The use of force can be either moral or immoral depending on the label it is given (either initiation or retaliatory), but it is still the use of force. How can something (the use of force in this example) be both moral and immoral? Or, is the something (the use of force in this example) neither moral nor immoral, but it becomes moral or immoral only if someone decides to label that way? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the discussion has come off the rails because the OP started with the strawman that O'ism considers the use of force as immoral, without the distinction of 'initiation' of force as compared to the use of retalitory force.

I think the primary reason this thread won't go anywhere particular (which does not make it value-less) stems from the inability to breach the "epistemological chasm".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

softwareNerd,

 

From post #81, “I think the primary reason this thread won't go anywhere particular (which does not make it value-less) stems from the inability to breach the "epistemological chasm". 

 

Can you be more specific about this "epistemological chasm"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

andie holland,

 

You wrote in post #77, “What is generally agreed upon as 'moral' has been codified as law. So do you seriously want to change the law to be permitted to hunt down and kill someone who stole stuff out of your house?

 

This is an interesting statement as it seems to imply morality is “what is generally agreed upon as ‘moral’”. If this is the case, then, to continue the example, if it was generally agreed upon that hunting someone down and killing them because they broke into your house and stole from you was moral, then it would be moral. And use this implication to answer the question from the original post, if it was generally agreed upon that the use force in a retaliatory manner against someone is moral, then the use of force in a retaliatory manner against someone is moral; if it was generally agreed upon that the use of force in a retaliatory manner against someone is immoral, then the use force in a retaliatory manner against someone would be immoral. Is this what you are suggesting?

Fred,

 

First, I would say that when there are laws which deal with the right/prohibition  of retaliation, you have to assume that the statute reflects a moral standpoint. So yes, the system [moral>law.internalized morality] is how societies work. In brief, we generally come to see that doing something illegal is immoral.

 

Next, we all appreciate the distinction between law and morality in so far as thinking people come to realize that certain legal statutes are unfair, therefore immoral. Moreover, i would say that being able to untangle the law=morality assumption is what thought is all about. An excellent example of this is fair taxation; thinkers derive a third term, 'unfair', to conceptually wedge between legality and rightness.

 

Lastly, you do have an anthropological reality in which certain societies legally permit (even demand!) retaliation. For example: radical-orthodox Islam (fatwa), communities in the south of Italy (vendetta), feudal codes between families of knights in medieval Europe (abolished by the church), Yanamamo in the Amazon (Chagnon's account is still debated), and street gangs in american cities whose codes run counter to written law.

 

In a general sense, however, all organized states give themselves a monopoly on violence..

 

To this end, i would say that there are, in reality two distinct forms of morality: 

* morals codified in to law that we must obey, change, or agree to suffer the consequences. In these cases, it's impossible to discuss morality as if it existed in a vacuum.

** morals that give individuals latitude of behavior, and which no legal reference is necessary

 

Because retaliation falls, obviously, in to #1, i believe that it's useless to discuss this particular without reference to law.

 

Andie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tadmjones,

 

You wrote in post #78, “I think the discussion has come off the rails because the OP started with the strawman that O'ism considers the use of force as immoral, without the distinction of 'initiation' of force as compared to the use of retalitory force.

 

No “strawman” was intended when the post was written and it even contains a qualifier, “as it appears to be” to demonstrate that I was not make a definitive statement. If you wish to put the discussion “back on the rails”, then you can offer a clarification to the original post. To anticipate this, I will restate the original post as:

 

I have a question concerning the difference between the initiation of force and the retaliatory use of force: If it is, as it appears to be, considered by Objectivism to be immoral to initiate force against someone, then why is it (or is it) moral, or at least not immoral, to use force in a retaliatory manner against someone?

 

(Before going any further, if you are not satisfied with the restatement, please offer your own)

 

Despite the change of wording, the question still stands. To push the conversation further, I will add: The use of force can be either moral or immoral depending on the label it is given (either initiation or retaliatory), but it is still the use of force. How can something (the use of force in this example) be both moral and immoral? Or, is the something (the use of force in this example) neither moral nor immoral, but it becomes moral or immoral only if someone decides to label that way? 

With your rewording I do not think people , even those unfamiliar with O'ism, would have difficulty accepting the validity of the moral estimations of force , given the qualifiers. 

 

It seems the problem you are having is equivocating 'deciding to label' something with identifying what the something is, which I believe is the point SN keeps refering to.

Edited by tadmjones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

andie holland,

 

From post #83, “To this end, i would say that there are, in reality two distinct forms of morality: 

* morals codified in to law that we must obey, change, or agree to suffer the consequences. In these cases, it's impossible to discuss morality as if it existed in a vacuum.

** morals that give individuals latitude of behavior, and which no legal reference is necessary”

 

So, to be clear, under one of your forms of morality, morals codified in to law that we must obey, change, or agree to suffer the consequences, if the law stated that it was legal to enslave a group of people, or exterminate a group of people, then the use of force to either enslave or exterminate is moral because it is codified into law and that which is codified into law is moral?

 

But you also wrote, “Next, we all appreciate the distinction between law and morality in so far as thinking people come to realize that certain legal statutes are unfair, therefore immoral.”

 

How can this be? If something is codified into law then it is moral, so how can “thinking people” decide that a codified law (legal statute in your quote) is immoral? The very fact that the law exists demonstrates that it is moral and cannot be immoral.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tadmjones,

 

From post #84, “It seems the problem you are having is equivocating 'deciding to label' something with identifying what the something is, which I believe is the point SN keeps refering to.”

 

By “what the something is” are you referring to the use of force? Or do you mean that the ‘initiation of force’ is “something” and ‘the use of retaliatory force’ is a separate “something” even though they are both a use of force?

 

Are you implying that once you identify what something is, you can then make a determination as to whether that something is moral or immoral?

Edited by FredAnyman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was speaking to the difference between 'deciding to label' and 'identifying'. 

 

I could identify the color green, but I could not make a normative disctinction between or in reference to it , the color, and its relation to my volition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tadmjones,

 

From post #87, “I could identify the color green, but I could not make a normative disctinction between or in reference to it , the color, and its relation to my volition.”

 

So, in the case of the use of force, your statement would be written as, “I could identify the ‘use of force’, but I could not make a normative distinction between, or in reference, to it, the ‘use of force’, and its relation to my volition.”?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tadmjones,

 

From post #87, “I could identify the color green, but I could not make a normative disctinction between or in reference to it , the color, and its relation to my volition.”

 

So, in the case of the use of force, your statement would be written as, “I could identify the ‘use of force’, but I could not make a normative distinction between, or in reference, to it, the ‘use of force’, and its relation to my volition.”?

The phenomenon of 'force' in general? or a specific instance of a moral agent 'using force' in regard me ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tadmjones,

 

From post #89, “The phenomenon of 'force' in general? or a specific instance of a moral agent 'using force' in regard me ?

 

It would be, as stated in post #88, the ‘use of force’. But if you feel the need to be more specific, please do so as I would be interested in reading that as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fred

I misinterptretted your question re #88, no my statement so worded would not make sense. The statement about green makes sense, because of the identity of the color green and the identity of volition. Though perhaps it would be more(?) true to say my understanding of their respective identitites, they definately have identity, but I could  have an incorrect understanding

Edited by tadmjones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You stated in post #84, “It seems the problem you are having is equivocating 'deciding to label' something with identifying what the something is, which I believe is the point SN keeps refering to.”

 

I asked you if you were referring to the ‘use of force’ in post #86

 

In post #87 you stated, “I was speaking to the difference between 'deciding to label' and 'identifying'.

I could identify the color green, but I could not make a normative disctinction between or in reference to it , the color, and its relation to my volition.

 

In post #91 you stated, “I misinterptretted your question re #88, no my statement so worded would not make sense. The statement about green makes sense, because of the identity of the color green and the identity of volition.”

 

So does this mean that a statement about identity does not apply to the ‘use of force’?  How does this relate to your statement that you think I have a problem equivocating 'deciding to label' something with identifying what the something is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you be more specific about this "epistemological chasm"?

The way we use words inside our own minds (as differentiated from using them to communicate with others) varies from person to person, and even from word to word for the same person. When communicating and arguing, if the two people have sufficiently different approaches, one isn't going to get much resolution, just a lot of walking in the fields, in circles.

Are you familiar with Peikoff's lecture series titled "Understanding Objectivism"? 

Edited by softwareNerd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

No “strawman” was intended when the post was written and it even contains a qualifier, “as it appears to be” to demonstrate that I was not make a definitive statement. If you wish to put the discussion “back on the rails”, then you can offer a clarification to the original post. To anticipate this, I will restate the original post as:

 

I have a question concerning the difference between the initiation of force and the retaliatory use of force: If it is, as it appears to be, considered by Objectivism to be immoral to initiate force against someone, then why is it (or is it) moral, or at least not immoral, to use force in a retaliatory manner against someone?

 

(Before going any further, if you are not satisfied with the restatement, please offer your own)

 

Despite the change of wording, the question still stands. To push the conversation further, I will add: The use of force can be either moral or immoral depending on the label it is given (either initiation or retaliatory), but it is still the use of force. How can something (the use of force in this example) be both moral and immoral? Or, is the something (the use of force in this example) neither moral nor immoral, but it becomes moral or immoral only if someone decides to label that way? 

In a societal context, force is either moral or immoral. The initiation of force is immoral, not because it could or may be otherwise, but because of the nature of the act, its identity. Force is not simultaneously both at the same time and then becomes one or the other. The concept of ' the use of force' is amoral, specific actions of specific entities can be either moral or immoral when properly identified.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tadmjones,

 

In post #94 you state, “In a societal context, force is either moral or immoral. The initiation of force is immoral, not because it could or may be otherwise, but because of the nature of the act, its identity. Force is not simultaneously both at the same time and then becomes one or the other. The concept of ' the use of force' is amoral, specific actions of specific entities can be either moral or immoral when properly identified.

 

If the initiation of force is immoral because of the nature of the act, then how could the use of retaliatory force be moral, since the use of retaliatory force involves the initiation of force?

 

For example, if a man breaks into my house and steals from me, that would be considered an initiation of force and would be immoral. If the police capture the man who broke into my house and imprison him, then the police have initiated force against the man and since the initiation of force is immoral because of the nature of the act, the act of capturing and imprisoning the man was immoral.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tadmjones,

 

In post #97 you ask, “Why would you characterize the actions of the police in that situation as an initiation of force ?

 

I characterized the actions of the police in the example as an initiation of force because the police initiated force against the man who stole from me. In my example, the police force the man who stole from me into prison. I am assuming in this example that the man did not want to go to prison but the police used force to bring him there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...