organon

The legitimacy of parental obligation

236 posts in this topic

I have no reason whatever to believe that the psychological cause of his motivation -- to violate a general policy of immorality and choose to tell the truth and save the life of a person of value -- was immoral.
The explicit identification that he is a liar and a cheat is "no reason whatever" to "question" his motives?

I now have to question more than just your concept of 'gratitude' here.

On the basis of the implied nobility of that act, I grant him gratitude.
But (as you have indicated in all your other examples) you would no longer be grateful if you discovered he acted for reasons you did not consider virtuous.

That is an injustice.

The mistake here is thinking one cannot validly be grateful to the creator of a value for his act of creation - even if one regards the creator's reason for acting to not be virtuous (ie even if one is not grateful for the motive). In other words, justice demands one acknowledge and grant a man that which he deserves for his act of value creation - AND - that one acknowledge and grant him that which he deserves for his motivation.

The refusal to separate the two is the creation of a package-deal.

Consider a system of justice. If such a system does not separate action from motive for purposes of judgment, but instead package-deals them together, it completely violates rational standards of justice. A proper system of justice separates the ACT of the initiation of force from the MOTIVATION of that act. And it focuses its judgment only the act. Contrary to the assertions made in this thread, WHY a man initiates force has no bearing on the proper judgment of him FOR that act.

It is the package-dealing of the judgment of the act with the judgment of the motive which produces obscenities of justice like 'political crimes'. Such is the danger of the package-deal which continues to be promoted in this thread.

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I think arguing by means of examples is getting quite burdensome and is leading to no conclusion. Just because a dictionary definition includes certain examples doesn't mean that every element within the definition applies to every instance.

?

We are trying to establish a rational definition, and it will have implications in regard to the subject of this thread. If you do not believe the offered definition is rational, please provide an argument as to why.

I implied that in my statement. I do not have to thank the person, unless the person warrants such thanks. Thus, I regard thanking as a non-essential to gratitude. To feel gratitude, all I have to do is be appreciative for the benefit I received. The definition that I provided is one that I would use. Gratitude means "the state of being appreciative of benefits received." Appreciation is "a favorable critical estimate" of the benefit received. In other words, I am glad I found/acquired/achieved this good benefit. There is no moral estimate of the originator of the benefit involved, just a recognition.

As far as "being happy the Nazis didn't kill my ancestor" I could just as well be happy that they didn't kill a lot of other people from whom I have derived no benefit, but I would not feel gratitude.

Does this imply you feel gratitude that they did not kill your ancestor? Again, whether this statement is valid, relates to a definition of the word.

I believe that is pretty close to my exact wording, so there is no implication. (Note that I used that as an example. I had no ancestor is such a condition.) I can feel gratitude that something happened without feeling gratitude to someone, unless I choose to expand my judgment based upon the character of the other person.

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You are claiming that he deserves gratitude, [...]

A man is not owed gratitude [...]]

Of course he deserves credit for his virtue, which maintained a life of value. In this case, gratitude is offered, without question. Why? As a spiritual payment for an act of virtue, that resulted in the continued existence of a dear value. [...]

One offers gratitude to him because of what that act implies in relation to his nature [...]

Gratitude is a spiritual payment.

Statements like the above and the word "obligation" in the thread title lead me to believe that organon is trying to determine what one should feel with regard to one's parents, but "should" does not apply to emotions. Emotions are automatic responses and not subject to moral evaluation nor will one feel them because one "should."

All you can do with emotions is to observe that you are feeling a particular emotion and try to identify the stimulus that triggered it and the value premises underlying your reaction. Then you can analyze whether the value premise is true, applicable to the current context, etc.

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You are claiming that he deserves gratitude, [...]

A man is not owed gratitude [...]]

Of course he deserves credit for his virtue, which maintained a life of value. In this case, gratitude is offered, without question. Why? As a spiritual payment for an act of virtue, that resulted in the continued existence of a dear value. [...]

One offers gratitude to him because of what that act implies in relation to his nature [...]

Gratitude is a spiritual payment.

Statements like the above and the word "obligation" in the thread title lead me to believe that organon is trying to determine what one should feel with regard to one's parents, but "should" does not apply to emotions. Emotions are automatic responses and not subject to moral evaluation nor will one feel them because one "should."

Question, Betsy: should an individual be thoroughly good and rational, and perceive another who is thoroughly good and rational, is he obligated to feel regard for, admire, even love for her or him?

Realize the "psycho-emotional" context of "obligation" in this context as wholly benevolent, as matter of justice -- a sense that is completely opposed to that in which it is generally held.

Emotions are automatic responses and not subject to moral evaluation nor will one feel them because one "should."

I agree that emotions are automatic responses, and a lightning-fast product of evaluation. And a emotion will not generate because only because it should. But: were one to be wholly good, and rational, and not feel regard, or more, for a thoroughly beautiful soul one perceives -- a response one should feel in relation to the perception of their value, as a matter of justice -- I think he would devote himself, ASAP, to an examination of why that emotional response was not occurring.

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I think arguing by means of examples is getting quite burdensome and is leading to no conclusion. Just because a dictionary definition includes certain examples doesn't mean that every element within the definition applies to every instance.

?

We are trying to establish a rational definition, and it will have implications in regard to the subject of this thread. If you do not believe the offered definition is rational, please provide an argument as to why.

I implied that in my statement. I do not have to thank the person, unless the person warrants such thanks. Thus, I regard thanking as a non-essential to gratitude. To feel gratitude, all I have to do is be appreciative for the benefit I received. The definition that I provided is one that I would use. Gratitude means "the state of being appreciative of benefits received." Appreciation is "a favorable critical estimate" of the benefit received. In other words, I am glad I found/acquired/achieved this good benefit. There is no moral estimate of the originator of the benefit involved, just a recognition.

As far as "being happy the Nazis didn't kill my ancestor" I could just as well be happy that they didn't kill a lot of other people from whom I have derived no benefit, but I would not feel gratitude.

Does this imply you feel gratitude that they did not kill your ancestor? Again, whether this statement is valid, relates to a definition of the word.

I believe that is pretty close to my exact wording, so there is no implication. (Note that I used that as an example. I had no ancestor is such a condition.) I can feel gratitude that something happened without feeling gratitude to someone, unless I choose to expand my judgment based upon the character of the other person.

Posts #41 - #43 support, if not demonstrate, that gratitude exists only in the context of recognition of the originator.

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Posts #41 - #43 support, if not demonstrate, that gratitude exists only in the context of recognition of the originator.

And is felt toward the originator as a matter of spiritual payment.

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Realize the "psycho-emotional" context of "obligation" in this context as wholly benevolent, as matter of justice -- a sense that is completely opposed to that in which it is generally held.

I define "psycho-emotional" at present as:

"The (implicit or explicit) awareness and identification of the emotion as well as the (implicit or explicit) grasp of the beliefs and values from which it derives."

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Posts #41 - #43 support, if not demonstrate, that gratitude exists only in the context of recognition of the originator.
organon's arguments engage in the fallacy of the package-deal. As such, pointing to them 'supports' or 'demonstrates' nothing.

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Question, Betsy: should an individual be thoroughly good and rational, and perceive another who is thoroughly good and rational, is he obligated to feel regard for, admire, even love for her or him?

"Obligated to feel" contains a contradiction. Obligation is a moral concept involving choice and emotions are automatic and unchosen. One feels what one feels and not what one ought to feel.

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Question, Betsy: should an individual be thoroughly good and rational, and perceive another who is thoroughly good and rational, is he obligated to feel regard for, admire, even love for her or him?

"Obligated to feel" contains a contradiction. Obligation is a moral concept involving choice and emotions are automatic and unchosen. One feels what one feels and not what one ought to feel.

At any given instant, yes, one's emotional response to another will generate automatically based on the content of one's mind, and the nature of the related evaluation.

But:

If we grasp authentic human virtue, that rationally ought to generate a positive emotional response from a moral observer, and that emotion does not generate, a rational man, I think, will feel his reaction is unjust, and seek to discover the cause, in this case, given no cause whatever to doubt the authentic virtue of the individual he has identified, in himself.

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Lets try to simplify the issue a bit - bring it to its essentials:

As Dr. P indicates in OPAR, justice requires granting to a man that which he deserves. And, as he quotes from the OED, to 'deserve' is to "become worthy of recompense (ie, reward or punishment), according to the good or ill of character OR conduct." Furthermore, Dr. P points out that "a reward is a value given to a man in payment for his virtue OR achievement; it is a positive such as praise, friendship, a sum of money, or a special prerogative. A punishment is a disvalue inflicted in payment for vice or fault; it is a negative such as condemnation, the withholding of friendship..., or the loss of money or prerogative, including (in criminal cases) the loss of freedom or of life itself." (emphasis added)

Now, let us apply this to two very simply cases:

A woman gives you something you consider to be a value.

You consider it a virtue rather than a vice that she gave you this value. (Please note this is an evaluation of her "CONDUCT", not her "CHARACTER" - ie of her act, not her motivation. It is the same sort of evaluation performed in a court of law.)

What PAYMENT does this woman deserve for giving you this value? What has she earned by her act of virtue?

Has she earned a reward for giving you this value - does she deserve a reward for her virtuous conduct? Or has she earned a punishment for giving you this value - does she deserve a punishment for her virtuous conduct? In other words, has she earned praise for her act of virtue? Or does she deserve condemnation for her act of virtue?

Put simply, do you wish to encourage the giving of such a value in the future - or discourage it?

OR

A woman succeeds in creating a value

Her success in this creation is an achievement on her part, rather than a failure (ie she succeeded in the creation, rather than not succeeding in it).

What PAYMENT does this woman deserve for creating this value? What has she earned by her achievement?

Has she earned a reward for creating this value - does she deserve a reward for her achievement? Or has she earned a punishment for creating this value - does she deserve a punishment for her achievement? In other words, has she earned praise for her achievement? Or does she deserve condemnation for her achievement?

Put simply, do you wish to encourage the creation of such a value in the future - or discourage it?

Since justice requires granting a positive for a positive - a reward for a virtue - a value for a value -- then, in both cases, to give the woman a negative for her positive act - to give a punishment for her virtuous act or her achievement - to give a disvalue for the value she has given or created - would be a complete abrogation of justice.

In its simplest form, if you value a creation and you did not create it yourself, then you owe whoever did.

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In its simplest form, if you value a creation and you did not create it yourself, then you owe whoever did.

If "owe" is meant to imply gratitude, this requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.

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If "owe" is meant to imply gratitude, this requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.
WHAT you owe to the person is not specified by the principle. The principle simply establishes that you DO owe them.

Do you dispute this principle?

Concretely, do you owe the woman of the examples a reward or a punishment for the value she has created/provided? One can talk about the form a reward or punishment should take only after such a determination has been made.

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If "owe" is meant to imply gratitude, this requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.
WHAT you owe to the person is not specified by the principle. The principle simply establishes that you DO owe them.

Do you dispute this principle?

Concretely, do you owe the woman of the examples a reward or a punishment for the value she has created/provided? One can talk about the form a reward or punishment should take only after such a determination has been made.

Whether you owe them, requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.

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Whether you owe them, requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.
The creation of value IS a virtue. Thus the required "identification" has already been made in both the principle AND the examples provided. They all identify the virtue involved and the agent responsible.

So I repeat, do you dispute the principle? And I repeat - what do you owe the woman in the examples: a reward or a punishment?

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Whether you owe them, requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.
The creation of value IS a virtue. Thus the required "identification" has already been made in both the principle AND the examples provided. They all identify the virtue involved and the agent responsible.

So I repeat, do you dispute the principle? And I repeat - what do you owe the woman in the examples: a reward or a punishment?

Assume that there were 10 individuals in the existential causative string responsible for the current existence of an authentic value -- 5 of whom exercised virtue, and 5 of whom refrained from destroying it, through non-virtuous motives (they feared discovery and capture by the authorities).

Toward the 5 who exercised spiritual virtue, I would feel gratitude.

Toward the 5 who did not, whose motivation and nature was, in this context, depraved, I would not.

Whether you owe an individual gratitude, requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.

There is no virtue necessarily implied in the act of conception and birth (again, consider the parents who sought to conceive, bring to term and raise a suicide bomber).

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Whether you owe them, requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.
The creation of value IS a virtue. Thus the required "identification" has already been made in both the principle AND the examples provided. They all identify the virtue involved and the agent responsible.

So I repeat, do you dispute the principle? And I repeat - what do you owe the woman in the examples: a reward or a punishment?

Assume that there were 10 individuals...
You did not answer my questions.

Do you dispute the principle?

What do you own the woman in the two examples: a reward or a punishment?

To these I would add an additional question:

Do you dispute the principle that creation of value is a virtue?

I would very much appreciate an answer to these specific questions.

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What do you own the woman in the two examples: a reward or a punishment?
Oops - that should read "owe" not "own". :ph34r:
I would very much appreciate an answer to these specific questions.
Oh - and the reason such answers are necessary is because (as I already noted) one cannot rationally talk about the form of reward or punishment (ie one cannot make claims about things like "gratitude") without first having addressed these much more fundamental principles. Doing so only creates floating abstractions.

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The creation of value IS a virtue. Thus the required "identification" has already been made in both the principle AND the examples provided. They all identify the virtue involved and the agent responsible.

So I repeat, do you dispute the principle? And I repeat - what do you owe the woman in the examples: a reward or a punishment?

Assume that there were 10 individuals...
You did not answer my questions.

Do you dispute the principle?

What do you own the woman in the two examples: a reward or a punishment?

Whether you owe [an individual gratitude in relation to the existence of a value], requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.
Do you dispute the principle that creation of value is a virtue?
There is no virtue necessarily implied in the act of conception and birth (again, consider the parents who sought to conceive, bring to term and raise a suicide bomber).

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Lets put these in order of importance (ie order of principles):

Do you dispute the principle that creation of value is a virtue?
There is no virtue necessarily implied in the act of conception and birth (again, consider the parents who sought to conceive, bring to term and raise a suicide bomber).
Perhaps you did not understand the question. The question is: do you dispute the principle - 'the creation of a value is a virtue'? A rational answer would indicate 'Yes, you do dispute it' and would then clearly identify why - or - it would indicate 'No, you do not dispute it'. Unfortunately, you have done neither. As such, the question remains unanswered.

And perhaps you did not understand this second question as well: do you dispute the principle - 'if you value a creation and you did not create it yourself, then you owe whoever did'? AGAIN, a rational answer would indicate 'Yes, you do dispute it' and would then clearly identify why - or - it would indicate 'No, you do not dispute it.' And, again, you have done neither. As such, this question ALSO remains unanswered.

Now, as you may have noticed, in both instances I have indicated you seem not to have understood the questions. I say this because the responses you provided seem to be addressing questions which have not in fact been asked. You have made references to births and conception and gratitude and suicide bombers, etc. (which you simply repeat like a mantra). Yet no such things have been referenced in the questions you were asked. The result is that your statements are non-sequitors, leaving the questions which HAVE been asked unanswered.

Please answer the questions which have ACTUALLY been asked. (And just so it is perfectly clear, these two questions ask whether you agree with two different principles. They do NOT ask about any particular concrete application of those principles.)

Finally, this question: 'what do you owe the woman in the two examples: a reward or punishment' has received no answer whatsoever. You have not identified whether she is owed a reward or whether she is owed a punishment for her virtue in the one example and for her achievement in the other example. (And again please note, the examples given do not involve prostitutes, faith, suicide bombers, or anything else like that. So please answer the question that has been asked instead of manufacturing one of your own design. Such substitution is simple the creation of straw men.)

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Lets put these in order of importance (ie order of principles):
Do you dispute the principle that creation of value is a virtue?
There is no virtue necessarily implied in the act of conception and birth (again, consider the parents who sought to conceive, bring to term and raise a suicide bomber).
Perhaps you did not understand the question. The question is: do you dispute the principle - 'the creation of a value is a virtue'? A rational answer would indicate 'Yes, you do dispute it' and would then clearly identify why - or - it would indicate 'No, you do not dispute it'. Unfortunately, you have done neither. As such, the question remains unanswered.

Are you seriously telling me that you cannot grasp, based on my response, the fact that I dispute it?

Whether you owe [an individual gratitude in relation to the existence of a value], requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.
There is no virtue necessarily implied in the act of conception and birth (again, consider the parents who sought to conceive, bring to term and raise a suicide bomber).

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An important philosophical point here is:

A value is not a value outside of the context of the virtue exercised in its achievement and/or preservation.

For example:

Money is not a value if obtained by fraud.

Sex is not a value if obtained by fraud.

Respect, admiration, love are not values if obtained by fraud.

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Do you dispute the principle that creation of value is a virtue?
...I dispute it...
This presents a problem.

Objectivism identifies "the process of creating...values" (specifically material values) to BE a virtue - specifically the virtue of 'productiveness'. 'Creation' is "the process of creating." Thus it appears you dispute this Objectivist principle. However, your dispute appears to be over something greater than a single virtue. Your dispute seems to be with the Objectivist definition of 'virtue' itself.

Objectivism defines 'virtue' as the action by which one gains and keeps a value. Creating a value is exactly that action. By definition the creation of value IS virtue. Yet you claim it is not.

Thus the question is, on what basis do you dispute the Objectivist definition of 'virtue'? And - what is your alternate definition of 'virtue'?

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An important philosophical point here is:

A value is not a value outside of the context of the virtue exercised in its achievement and/or preservation.

For example:

Money is not a value if obtained by fraud.

Sex is not a value if obtained by fraud.

Respect, admiration, love are not values if obtained by fraud.

I think you mean it is not moral, rather than it is not a value. If money wasn't a value because it is stolen, what is it that motivates the thief? I think your examples are of values, and should not be equated to the method of obtaining them. The methods are not virtuous.

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Objectivism defines 'virtue' as the action by which one gains and keeps a value. Creating a value is exactly that action. By definition the creation of value IS virtue. Yet you claim it is not.

Thus the question is, on what basis do you dispute the Objectivist definition of 'virtue'? And - what is your alternate definition of 'virtue'?

If virtue is defined as: an action, rational in nature, by which a rational value is achieved, no, I do not dispute it.

I do dispute the contention that the existence of a value necessarily implies virtue on the part of any agent that had a role in the fact it now exists, including a criminal who failed to fire because he heard a siren nearby. To wit:

Whether you owe [an individual gratitude in relation to the existence of a value], requires the actual or implied identification of virtue by the agent responsible, in whatever way, for the existence of that value.

See the above philosophical point.

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