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Ownership of Metaphysically Givens

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Jon Southall
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10 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

Does that help?

Jon,

You know I respect you generally, but I have not yet been able to understand your arguments on this topic. I apologize. Perhaps there will come a point in the future where I do, and can either agree with you or disagree with you, with greater clarity and conviction, but I'm just not there yet.

Thank you for engaging with me regardless. I'll continue to watch the conversation and weigh in, if/when I think I have anything interesting to contribute. (And I do hope that you and SL manage all right in the interim; I think he's a very good contributor overall, and it's painful to watch the conversation degenerate like it has.)

10 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

I think if the homeowner in your scenario wanted to establish a right of access to the lake, perhaps one way to do this would be to build a path from his home to the lake. Others would not be able to interfere with his path without his permission etc.

Though I'm not 100% on this yet, I really do suspect you're missing the mark on this point. The "path" (which is something like a descent from the hill to the lake, and may not be more precisely defined if there is no pressing need for such definition) has already been established by the homeowner's making routine use of it, for my purposes and I believe for the purposes of "right," whether or not he constructs anything, as such (e.g. lays down stone).

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When you care to answer my questions to you, all of which you haven't, I will do.

Answering questions IS the point of the exercise, but we have to get there first by investigating the foundations of property based on first principles, in a rational manner.

Statements such as this:

"5. There is something about the wall man's activity which we all feel is immoral. "

true or not, are not within the realm of rationality, not based on reality and are useless in our analysis.  As you know, feelings are not a guide to action or a means of cognition.  In that post, there is also a great deal of question begging (using your conclusion as part of the evidence to arrive at it), and statements which are premature in the analysis.

With regard to your claiming the contradiction that a "yard" is not land, if you want to have any kind of intellectual honesty you will need to address and resolve that contradiction, even if only in your mind.

 

Although less than ideal, I am willing to simply ignore your contradiction if you allow me to ignore your post which I respectfully submit is question begging, somewhat emotional and logically premature.  Let's deal with the property rights which you have explicitly supported, which are to an individual's yard.

A. A person did something to obtain property rights in his yard, if the person does the same thing in other areas he would have property in multiple yards. If the person did the same thing in a rectangular continuous area he can obtain a very large yard with property rights.  Is a person morally free to cause what is needed to any number of areas to create any number of yards of any size?

B. Is a person morally free to hire workers to do the something and hence cause the property in his yard(s)? 

C.  Does the person have the right to use his yard as he wishes?  To contract with persons, to exchange the benefit they obtain of using his yard for payment?  Do individuals morally have the right to property and freedom of contract so that the individual can charge rent for use of his property?

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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""5. There is something about the wall man's activity which we all feel is immoral. "

true or not, are not within the realm of rationality, not based on reality and are useless in our analysis.  As you know, feelings are not a guide to action or a means of cognition.  In that post, there is also a great deal of question begging (using your conclusion as part of the evidence to arrive at it), and statements which are premature in the analysis."

Human beings often feel something about a situation. Feelings are a judgement that we make in a situation, they arise in us in reaction to something or someone. It is unwise to act on our feelings until we have thought rationally, but I think they are nevertheless useful when they lead us to reflect on "what is it about my experience that has made me feel this way". It was worth me pointing out that we all feel the same way about something, even though we are disagreeing, and unless you are a Kantian, I would suspect what you feel about it matches up with your rational moral appraisal. The same is true for me. The disagreement prompts us to check our premises.

Can you point out examples of question begging. Can you point out statements which are premature in the analysis? I do not ask because I don't believe you, but it was not my intention to do either, and being unaware of where this has happened I can hardly do anything to strengthen it up.

The land and yard situation is not a contradiction, I think you are simply mistaken and using a different kind of distinction than me.

I will try to state my position for you as follows.

Land falls within the group "metaphysically givens" - call this group X. Yard falls with the group "man-made facts" - Y. It is either or - if we are talking about a concept, it will be either X or Y.

It may be more precise to define man-made facts as follows:

Y = f(X) This simply means man-made facts come about due to the actions of man, using metaphysically givens, to produce material values. Man-made facts are the result of purposeful action applied to metaphysically givens.

Because of the either or condition, X != Y and X != f(x)

Therefore when you say "yard", I am thinking of a man-made construct which sits in Y. When you say "land", I am thinking of a metaphysically given fact which sits in X.

To quote Rand:

"Things of human origin (whether physical or psychological) may be designated as “man-made facts”—as distinguished from the metaphysically given facts."

"Nature, i.e., the universe as a whole, cannot be created or annihilated . . . it cannot come into or go out of existence. Whether its basic constituent elements are atoms, or subatomic particles, or some yet undiscovered forms of energy, it is not ruled by a consciousness or by will or by chance, but by the law of identity"

I'm using Rand's words above as my criteria for what can be regarded as an X or a Y.

If you disagree with Rand, or perhaps you think there are some aspects of a yard which essentially are not a consequence of human action, and some aspects which are, then we have a problem. I was treating it as if it is clearly identifiable as a yard - e.g. a lawn adjoining a dwelling. I didn't think it would be something so ill defined that you could mistake it for uncultivated land, where you could persuasively argue that it is untouched and unmanaged. In the latter case, you could easily say that "you cannot call that a yard - that isn't really a yard."

 

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Is there any significant difference from this thread and the previous one?

 

As to the object-use dichotomy being bandied with:

Ms. Rand Said:

Quote

A notable example of the proper method of establishing private ownership from scratch, in a previously ownerless area, is the Homestead Act of 1862, by which the government opened the western frontier for settlement and turned "public land" over to private owners. The government offered a 160-acre farm to any adult citizen who would settle on it and cultivate it for five years, after which it would become his property.

"[...] after which IT would become his property"

Edited by Plasmatic
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6 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

""5. There is something about the wall man's activity which we all feel is immoral. "

true or not, are not within the realm of rationality, not based on reality and are useless in our analysis.  As you know, feelings are not a guide to action or a means of cognition.  In that post, there is also a great deal of question begging (using your conclusion as part of the evidence to arrive at it), and statements which are premature in the analysis."

Human beings often feel something about a situation. Feelings are a judgement that we make in a situation, they arise in us in reaction to something or someone. It is unwise to act on our feelings until we have thought rationally, but I think they are nevertheless useful when they lead us to reflect on "what is it about my experience that has made me feel this way". It was worth me pointing out that we all feel the same way about something, even though we are disagreeing, and unless you are a Kantian, I would suspect what you feel about it matches up with your rational moral appraisal. The same is true for me. The disagreement prompts us to check our premises.

Can you point out examples of question begging. Can you point out statements which are premature in the analysis? I do not ask because I don't believe you, but it was not my intention to do either, and being unaware of where this has happened I can hardly do anything to strengthen it up.

The land and yard situation is not a contradiction, I think you are simply mistaken and using a different kind of distinction than me.

I will try to state my position for you as follows.

Land falls within the group "metaphysically givens" - call this group X. Yard falls with the group "man-made facts" - Y. It is either or - if we are talking about a concept, it will be either X or Y.

It may be more precise to define man-made facts as follows:

Y = f(X) This simply means man-made facts come about due to the actions of man, using metaphysically givens, to produce material values. Man-made facts are the result of purposeful action applied to metaphysically givens.

Because of the either or condition, X != Y and X != f(x)

Therefore when you say "yard", I am thinking of a man-made construct which sits in Y. When you say "land", I am thinking of a metaphysically given fact which sits in X.

To quote Rand:

"Things of human origin (whether physical or psychological) may be designated as “man-made facts”—as distinguished from the metaphysically given facts."

"Nature, i.e., the universe as a whole, cannot be created or annihilated . . . it cannot come into or go out of existence. Whether its basic constituent elements are atoms, or subatomic particles, or some yet undiscovered forms of energy, it is not ruled by a consciousness or by will or by chance, but by the law of identity"

I'm using Rand's words above as my criteria for what can be regarded as an X or a Y.

If you disagree with Rand, or perhaps you think there are some aspects of a yard which essentially are not a consequence of human action, and some aspects which are, then we have a problem. I was treating it as if it is clearly identifiable as a yard - e.g. a lawn adjoining a dwelling. I didn't think it would be something so ill defined that you could mistake it for uncultivated land, where you could persuasively argue that it is untouched and unmanaged. In the latter case, you could easily say that "you cannot call that a yard - that isn't really a yard."

 

Let's dispense with smoke and mirrors, personal investment with any position above, and just rationally deal with the "yard" and now "farm", examples.

 

Does the OWNER of the yard have the moral right to sell or destroy his house and keep his yard i.e. the moral right to dispense with or keep his own property as he chooses?

Does the farm owner have the moral right to hire machines and men to work his land?

Does the OWNER of the farm (OWNER of the house, barns, fields, livestock, etc.) have the moral right to sell or destroy his house, his barn, his livestock and keep his field i.e. the moral right to dispense with or keep his own property as he chooses? 

Does the farm owner continue to have the moral right to hire machines and men to work his land?

 

Stop running from this discussion... it's silly.  We're just thinking and talking, it's not like you will lose a part of yourself by opening your mind!  C'mon let's dig in!  Start at the base.

 

And let's revisit these with farmer's field added:

A. A person did something to obtain property rights in his yard or his farmer's field, if the person does the same thing in other areas he would have property in multiple yards or multiple farmer's fields. If the person did the same thing in a rectangular continuous area he can obtain a very large yard or very large farmer's field with property rights.  Is a person morally free to cause what is needed to any number of areas to create any number of yards or farmer's fields of any size?

B. Is a person morally free to hire workers to do the something and hence cause the property in his yard(s) or farmer's fields? 

C.  Does the person have the right to use his yard or farmer's field as he wishes?  To contract with persons, to exchange the benefit they obtain of using his yard or farmer's field for payment?  Do individuals morally have the right to property and freedom of contract so that the individual can charge rent for use of his property?

 

Don't shy away ... don't be afraid, they are just thoughts, ideas... walk through that door! Focus.

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SL,

You seem to be suggesting I'm persisting with this line of reasoning for emotional reasons but you are mistaken.

I don't think you get the argument. That's what's frustrating. It's like every post I see is a strawman argument where the terms have been redefined to fit a concept of property rights you are unable to make explicit, as you have been asked to do. Your latest post is basically an ad hominem attack.

I understand this. When I originally discussed these ideas with Georgists, I too was like you and the others. I didn't get it to start with. But with their help and patience it did click. And I was happy to admit I had been wrong about it. That is why I am extraordinarily patient with you, why I try to rephrase the same argument a 100 different ways until, hopefully, it clicks in your case too. I do this on the premise that you are intellectually honest. I do it with acceptance we may always disagree.

In my view, the benefits would be to have a more robust and rational foundation of establishing property rights. People here don't think I'm an Objectivist because of my thinking on this but actually I am. What would be the value of discussing things we would come to easy agreement on, what would we learn from that? That's why I like to focus on the contradictions.

"Does the OWNER of the yard have the moral right to sell or destroy his house and keep his yard i.e. the moral right to dispense with or keep his own property as he chooses?" Yes.

"Does the farm owner have the moral right to hire machines and men to work his land?" Yes.

"Does the OWNER of the farm (OWNER of the house, barns, fields, livestock, etc.) have the moral right to sell or destroy his house, his barn, his livestock and keep his field i.e. the moral right to dispense with or keep his own property as he chooses?" Yes (even when it would be self-defeating!)

"Does the farm owner continue to have the moral right to hire machines and men to work his land?" Yes.

You obviously think we are further apart on this than we really are.

"A. A person did something to obtain property rights in his yard or his farmer's field, if the person does the same thing in other areas he would have property in multiple yards or multiple farmer's fields. If the person did the same thing in a rectangular continuous area he can obtain a very large yard or very large farmer's field with property rights.  Is a person morally free to cause what is needed to any number of areas to create any number of yards or farmer's fields of any size?" Yes.

"B. Is a person morally free to hire workers to do the something and hence cause the property in his yard(s) or farmer's fields?" Yes.

"C.  Does the person have the right to use his yard or farmer's field as he wishes?  To contract with persons, to exchange the benefit they obtain of using his yard or farmer's field for payment?  Do individuals morally have the right to property and freedom of contract so that the individual can charge rent for use of his property?" Yes.

The key distinction, the cause of our disagreement, is that I discriminate more than you as to what his property IS. I.e. I define it strictly as f(x) where as you try and allow for it to be f(x) + x (see post above). 

I allow rent to be charged on f(x) whereas you allow it on f(x) + x (which is actually rent + economic rent). I think the owner of f(x) keeping the economic rent on x is wrong, because x is not his. There is more to it but I will leave it there for now.

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