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How many masks do you wear?

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2 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

If an action spreads odor or disease, that can make that action an act of force.

There are different kinds and degrees of force.  If a particular kind of force is less serious, less direct, or less evil, that does not mean we should deny that it is force.

Where are you getting your definition?

Where are you getting yours DM? Force: physical compulsion. No may's and can's or lesses, about it. One directly stops someone doing something or one directly makes them do something. 

 

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How many masks do you wear? I chose to present and ponder this topic as a Metaphysical and Epistemologcal exploration of identity.   This thread is not so much to argue the benefits and safe

This mask (etc...) debacle has ironically made me friendlier to the general populace. I wear a mask begrudgingly only as required by businesses, but I find myself being nicer and smiling genuinely mor

This discussion has been rather far removed from the fundamental principles regarding man’s rights, and has focused instead on notions of aggression, spreading (versus other means), sensory inputs, af

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16 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

To impose germs, poison, or fire on a person, one must apply them directly to the person's body or property.  Simply having them in the same vicinity is not imposing them.

You've qualified "impose" with "direct," yet still no explanation or standard has been established. At what point has someone been directly imposed?

16 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

Physical damage to a person's body or property is a physical change that interferes with its functioning or adversely affects its appearance, with the person, whose body or property it is, being entitled to define "adversely".

Since a person with any body or property may supply the definition, "adverse" "physical damage" broadens to any/all happenings in the universe, no?

16 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

Processing sensory input, and carrying out further processing of the contents of one's consciousness, is part of the normal functioning of the sense organs and brain, and the resulting changes do not constitute damage or force.

What is "normal functioning"? By what standard do I differentiate "normal" from "damaged" (assuming the above "adverse physical damage" definition is out)?

16 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

Once you have a content of consciousness, any further processing on your part is your responsibility and does not constitute force or physical damage.  In particular, once a good, bad, or neutral smell, sight, sound, taste, or touch becomes a content of your consciousness, any further processing is your responsibility.

This is simply begging the question. Another person physically changed my brain by communicating an idea to me, and the resulting "content of consciousness" was automatic and not by my choice. So, why was the spreading of the idea not an initiation of force?

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15 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Force: physical compulsion. No may's and can's or lesses, about it. One directly stops someone doing something or one directly makes them do something. 

From "The Nature of Government", as quoted in the Ayn Rand lexicon:

A unilateral breach of contract involves an indirect use of physical force: it consists, in essence, of one man receiving the material values, goods or services of another, then refusing to pay for them and thus keeping them by force (by mere physical possession), not by right—i.e., keeping them without the consent of their owner. Fraud involves a similarly indirect use of force: it consists of obtaining material values without their owner’s consent, under false pretenses or false promises.

Your definition is narrower than Ayn Rand's.

15 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Where are you getting yours DM?

I didn't know of a definition that addressed the issues that need addressing here, so I formulated it myself.

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6 hours ago, JASKN said:

You've qualified "impose" with "direct," yet still no explanation or standard has been established. At what point has someone been directly imposed?

Bringing germs, poison, or fire into direct physical contact with, or placing or creating them in or on, a person's body or property without the person's competent, informed consent constitutes imposing them on the person's body or property and is an act of physical force against that person.

Edited by Doug Morris
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6 hours ago, JASKN said:

Since a person with any body or property may supply the definition, "adverse" "physical damage" broadens to any/all happenings in the universe, no?

I am only allowing the person to define "adversely" as it applies to the appearance of his body or property.  By "appearance" I mean physical appearance, specifically how the body or property looks, sounds, smells, tastes, or feels.  "Feels" means to the sense of touch.  The adverse effect only becomes physical force if it is due to the action of another person.  Note also that this only applies to physical changes.

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6 hours ago, JASKN said:

What is "normal functioning"? By what standard do I differentiate "normal" from "damaged"

"Normal functioning" refers to actions which are part of and contribute to the integrative process of self-generated, self-sustaining action which is the person's life.  "Damage" is a change that interferes with the person's life.

Note that it is the person's responsibility to carry out their processing in a way that in fact enhances their life.  If the person makes a mistake, this does not constitute physical force by another person. 

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7 hours ago, JASKN said:

This is simply begging the question. Another person physically changed my brain by communicating an idea to me, and the resulting "content of consciousness" was automatic and not by my choice. So, why was the spreading of the idea not an initiation of force?

The passage you are criticizing was a response to your statement: 

3 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

it may ruin my day by drudging up some childhood trauma.

Once the content has entered your consciousness, any dredging up or other further processing is part of your own functioning and is your own responsibility.  Your responsibility here may involve actions you have taken or failed to take in the past, in addition to what you are doing or failing to do now.

The other person presented you with a sensory input.  Automatic processing by your senses of any sensory input is how your senses present your consciousness with information about the sensory input.  Automatic processing by your senses of any sensory input is part of the normal functioning of your body and consciousness and does not constitute damage or force.

I have already explained how to distinguish damage from the more general concept of change.

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10 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

From "The Nature of Government", as quoted in the Ayn Rand lexicon:

A unilateral breach of contract involves an indirect use of physical force: it consists, in essence, of one man receiving the material values, goods or services of another, then refusing to pay for them and thus keeping them by force (by mere physical possession), not by right—i.e., keeping them without the consent of their owner. Fraud involves a similarly indirect use of force: it consists of obtaining material values without their owner’s consent, under false pretenses or false promises.

Your definition is narrower than Ayn Rand's.

I didn't know of a definition that addressed the issues that need addressing here, so I formulated it myself.

I just knew you'd cite "fraud" for your argument. ;)

"An indirect use of physical force" - Rand says - therefore my germs infecting someone is equally an indirect use of force, therefore is equally initiated force... Cute.

How are you going to align transmitting a virus with "a unilateral breach of contract"?!

I look forward to that explanation.

Edited by whYNOT
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On 1/30/2021 at 4:53 PM, Doug Morris said:

Once the content has entered your consciousness, any dredging up or other further processing is part of your own functioning and is your own responsibility.  Your responsibility here may involve actions you have taken or failed to take in the past, in addition to what you are doing or failing to do now.

A brain operates automatically in many or even most ways, and in fact the common understanding of idea "dredging" is that it's involuntary, which is why I used it as an example. Furthermore, some communicated ideas are intended to harm the recipient - not just lies, but perhaps bringing up past trauma, or shifting a person's focus with the intent to change his decisions. Why would these things not constitute an initiation of force?

On 1/30/2021 at 4:53 PM, Doug Morris said:

I have already explained how to distinguish damage from the more general concept of change.

Do you mean these?:

On 1/29/2021 at 5:18 PM, Doug Morris said:

Physical damage to a person's body or property is a physical change that interferes with its functioning or adversely affects its appearance, with the person, whose body or property it is, being entitled to define "adversely".

On 1/30/2021 at 4:36 PM, Doug Morris said:

"Normal functioning" refers to actions which are part of and contribute to the integrative process of self-generated, self-sustaining action which is the person's life.  "Damage" is a change that interferes with the person's life.

If so, a communicated idea can easily cause a physical brain change which interferes with its functioning, or which interferes with a person's integrative process of self-generated, self-sustaining action. So, why would ideas be excluded as an initiation of force?

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37 minutes ago, JASKN said:

If so, a communicated idea can easily cause a physical brain change which interferes with its functioning, or which interferes with a person's integrative process of self-generated, self-sustaining action. So, why would ideas be excluded as an initiation of force?

Fraud is initiation of force but not purely based on physical damage. Anything that is put between the human and his mode of survival (perception, reason) is an initiation of force.

  • If I am able to convince you to jump off a three story building, when I know you will likely die, I have initiated force.
    • I have to have come between you and your ability to perceive or reason the issue. That implies that I as the aggressor have overcome your freewill. Perhaps I have gained your trust.
  • If I shine a light in your eyes and you don't see the hole in front of you and fall in it, I aggressed on you. The light did not cause physical damage to your body, the falling did. But you would not have fallen if you could use the faculties available to you. In this case your sight.

The physical damage aspect is the ultimate direction, it is not the determinant of what force in this context.

What makes things complicated is the issue of probability or likelihood.

As in if I know that I will likely transmit Covid, does that mean I am responsible when you got it. At some point, maybe democratically determined, "probably caused" is treated as "caused". That is where I see the core of the dispute.

I know multiple people who got Covid but their family members did not, even though they even slept in the same bed.

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23 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

I was not saying they were the same thing.  I was simply pointing out that your definition of force was narrower than Ayn Rand's.

But she didn't define "force" here, Rand explains and castigates the "use of physical force" (indirect or direct). I'd gather she'd assume readers knew what physical force is.

I defined human -to- human force as physical compulsion. Of course a definition is "narrower".

You could compose your own variations on the definition, coercion etc..

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49 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

But she didn't define "force" here, Rand explains and castigates the "use of physical force" (indirect or direct). I'd gather she'd assume readers knew what physical force is.

I should have said that your concept of force was narrower than Ayn Rand's.  Sorry for the imprecision.

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6 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

unknowingly having a disease

Please bear in mind that concern that someone may have COVID-19 is not arbitrary.  It is based on three facts of reality.

COVID-19 is widespread.

COVID-19 is easily spread through the air.

A person can be spreading COVID-19 germs without showing symptoms.

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This discussion has been rather far removed from the fundamental principles regarding man’s rights, and has focused instead on notions of aggression, spreading (versus other means), sensory inputs, affecting a person, doing damage to body or property including creating a risk of same. It has included the idea that one can accidentally initiate physical force. The problem has been (for over a half century) that we (not exclusively Objectivists, referring to people who take the concept of “individual rights” to be an essential concept that must be understood) are constantly playing whack-a-mole by invoking a concept like “aggression”, then we get challenged as to what “aggression” is, then we refer “aggression” to something else. Rand has stated the fundamental principle, and in my opinion Schwartz has explicated it nicely. I quote a single sentence from his first page: “This concept of force applies exclusively to actions taken by human beings against human beings”. But it is not just “the unchosen” that we identify when talking about force. Second sentence bottom p. 1: “We thus identify the concept “force” to denote a physical action to which we are subjected against our will”. Finally, he makes the identification that “The concept of force pertains only to the volitional. It pertains only to physical actions taken by a volitional being to neutralize the choice of another volitional being” (emphasis added).

Relating this to the mask-mandate, there is no question that the governmental requirement to wear a mask in the locally-mandated circumstances is the initiation of force. It is a particularly egregious initiation of force, since it is in all cases a use of special dictatorial power that is outside the rule of law – it is only justified because it is declared to be an “emergency”. There isn’t even a real law requiring you to wear a mask.

Sweeping away the mask orders, the question then should be, what legal consequences should there be if you do not wear a mask? The same as if you walk your dog, drive your car, or grow a tree on your property. If you walk your dog and do not control it, and it eats the neighbor’s cat, you are liable for the damage. There is extensive legal background on this principle (it is millennia old). The government and legal system subsumes these concepts under the “duty of care”, which allows you to not care about another party’s interests up to a point, but you must care when your actions do “harm”. It is obvious that I am not talking about Objectivist theory here, I’m just stating what has always been a legal principle governing social interactions.

There are two related challenges for Objectivists on this front. The first is to be able to sort actions which should have legal consequences versus one which should not. Dogs eating cats would be an example of the former. Using the pronoun “he” when the referent prefers to be identified as “she” is an example of the latter. The second is to find a system of reason that relates those identifications to general principles, consistent with Objectivism. Automatically labeling something as “initiation of force” is anti-reason. Presenting a clear line of reasoning from principles to conclusions is what it means to “reason”. So let us reason.

The strongest claim that I find at all compatible with Objectivism is that one should not knowingly, willfully transmit a disease to another person without permission. The second strongest claim is that if you negligently cause harm to a person by your actions (or inactions), you bear responsibility for those choices. Masks are about the second kind of case, where the bar is being lowering for a claim of “negligence” (as well as corrupting the concept “cause”).

It is always possible at any time that any person has some transmissible disease and does not know it. It cannot be a principle of civilized society that one must self-quarantine if it is possible that one has a transmissible disease (that virtually contradicts the notion of a “civilized society” – we must always self-quarantine; life is not possible). This discussion needs a better principle. What principle underlies the distinction between covid and the common cold? What scientific facts underlie claims about covid versus the cold or the flu? I don’t mean, what do the newspapers say, I mean what are the scientific questions and findings? Then how do those facts relate to a person’s proper choices?

That is how I think this discussion should be framed.

 

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5 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

The government and legal system subsumes these concepts under the “duty of care”, which allows you to not care about another party’s interests up to a point, but you must care when your actions do “harm”. It is obvious that I am not talking about Objectivist theory here, I’m just stating what has always been a legal principle governing social interactions.

 

"But you must care when your actions do “harm”, what if your actions are "likely to do harm" based on contextual science (what we currently know which might be contradicted later)?

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