Do natural rights exist?

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infernovia
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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby infernovia » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:59 pm UTC

So lists of rights aren't arbitrary, but your premises are?

Your premise is faulty you can't just start off with just the core atom, you will need to understand the force it presents to others as well. Also it makes no satisfactory description of the power relations between the state and man, man and beasts, man and man, nation and nation, ideologies and man, or even man and himself. Which is why you have to make your concessions when you add even one other individual into the fray.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:15 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
infernovia wrote:Since you seem to be completely sure of this, can you explain the inductive reasoning as to how you arrived to these natural rights? First of all, pardon my ignorance, I don't even know what they are, so it will be nice you could list them in a clear, concise, and concrete manner. Secondly, I have not seen (and there are people similar to me) who have not been able to derive these natural rights from their own faculty of logic and reasoning, so it would help us if you do a step by step breakdown of how these rights are naturally your own versus rights that are "arbitrarily" given.


A natural right is a right that exists in a "state of nature". IE, you living all by yourself, the smallest unit of society. No government. No power structures of any kind. Just you and nature.


Except that's not the State of Nature, because, baring those shipwrecked, no one has existed in the absence of others. What the State of Nature implies is people in a world without social order or society.

Rights you have in such a circumstance:
1. You're alive(or otherwise, could not be reasoning this out, and would not be able to be part of any society). Since this construct cannot exist without life, life is the #1 necessity. It is perfectly natural for you to attempt to continue to be alive.

2. You're gonna need stuff to stay alive. Food. Water. Shelter. So, in order to achieve #1, you will attempt to obtain these things. Since there's nobody else here, this basically means you have to find or make them. So, you've got a right to do that. Pursuit of property, it's called.


That's not Property - Property is not merely the use of stuff. Property is a claim to something with the exclusion of others from it - that implies a number of things: (a) other people, (b) a fixed and recognised demarcation of that thing from others, (c) the power of access to it without being denied it by nature or rival (existence of which follows from (a)), (d) the ability to exclude others from it should you wish.

(a) was not envisaged by your hypothetical and the remainder of these things are not abilities the individual is "naturally" capable of.

3. Nobody is around to interfere with you. So, you can basically do whatever strikes your fancy. Go where you want to go(if you can). Can attempt to happily do anything, and nobody will stop you. Liberty, at it's most basic element. If you want to take that stuff you gathered and set it on fire, or toss it off a cliff...you can. You can break this down further as a freedom to travel, privacy, etc, etc if you like.


Actually even in your absurd hypothetical in which people don't exist, there are things to interfere with you: nature in all its many varied and nasty forms. Now, chuck in other people who can on occasion give nature a run for its money in the nastiness department and we've a situation where our individual definitely won't feel safe leaving the small cave she's found, in which she could well die from cold or thug's blade in the night. None of this looks like freedom to me.
Note that none of these rights mean that these things are inherently achievable. You may, at some point, be unable to find food and water, and thus die. If you do, this mini-society ends. However, as these are required for the most basic element of society, the individual, and the individual is required for any larger element of society, these end up being required for society.


So, wait you recognise the individual in your schema may well be deprived of necessities but that's just dandy? Even though your criteria for rights seems to be the individuals needs - of which one of the most basic is, I would have thought, sustenance and shelter.

Tyndmyr wrote:[
The naturalness of it isn't that critical. It has existed in the past, sure. Single guy living on an island. That's pretty individualistic. But the important bit is that it's derived from what society needs. Society needs individuals. It literally cannot be a society without them. So the question of "what do the individuals need" is pretty basic. The layers of society all depend on the preceding layers. Can't have the family/tribe without individuals. We don't really have any example of larger states without families. We've got nested layers of hierarchy...and over time we've managed to organize into larger and larger units, but the smaller units still exist, and always have existed. Therefore, they are the common element to all societies, and if you're looking for what all societies need, then you'll want to hit those common elements.



So your metric for Rights is "what do individuals need"? That's excellent - we're at last in agreement; I place individuals and their needs central too. I just have no idea what any of that has to do with the Lockean intriuge you've given us. Even if I accept what you assert constitutes "natural", or "fundamental" as you seem to have shifted to, what does any of that have to do with assessing the best rights for individuals? A much better way to conceive of Rights, would be to see them as choices we ought to make as a Society about the best ways to fulfil that metric, "what do individuals need".

As I see it central to the individual's need is protection from the privation of want and disease and the deprivations of their fellows so that they might have the security to prosper with their property and actualisations - this to me is freedom. To justify this, I might go into detail about the needs people have and how best to ensure those needs are met - no where within that justification need I invoke some Lockean playground fantasy.
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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:16 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:So lists of rights aren't arbitrary, but your premises are?

Your premise is faulty you can't just start off with just the core atom, you will need to understand the force it presents to others as well. Also it makes no satisfactory description of the power relations between the state and man, man and beasts, man and man, nation and nation, ideologies and man, or even man and himself. Which is why you have to make your concessions when you add even one other individual into the fray.


All ethics systems start from a descriptory statement. Which one you feel is most applicable IS mostly arbitrary. It's a basic philosophical problem. You absolutely can find another ethical system if you like. Natural rights are certainly not the only possible such construct.

However, lists of rights such as the UN list do not stem from a single ethical system. It's more like a popular list of generally nice things. This is inherently a different sort of thing.

Whimsical Eloquence wrote:Except that's not the State of Nature, because, baring those shipwrecked, no one has existed in the absence of others. What the State of Nature implies is people in a world without social order or society.


Shipwrecked, lost, abandoned, whatever. They have existed. They are not particularly common, yes, because larger social structures are helpful, so individual living is not ideal.

So, wait you recognise the individual in your schema may well be deprived of necessities but that's just dandy? Even though your criteria for rights seems to be the individuals needs - of which one of the most basic is, I would have thought, sustenance and shelter.


You may well fail to acquire sufficient food, sure. However, doing this would lead to the end of the social unit(the individual), so he will strive to avoid this. It is not the "having food" that is the right. It is the striving to get food that is the right.

Why else would we assign less moral blame to someone who steals bread to avoid starvation than one who bilks retirees to become rich? Do we not recognize the desire to continue to live as morally just?

So your metric for Rights is "what do individuals need"? That's excellent - we're at last in agreement; I place individuals and their needs central too. I just have no idea what any of that has to do with the Lockean intriuge you've given us. Even if I accept what you assert constitutes "natural", or "fundamental" as you seem to have shifted to, what does any of that have to do with assessing the best rights for individuals? A much better way to conceive of Rights, would be to see them as choices we ought to make as a Society about the best ways to fulfil that metric, "what do individuals need".


Natural Rights has jack-all to do with nature. Please. Stop equating the two.

It is simple recognition that society is built from the smallest unit to the largest.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby infernovia » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:49 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:All ethics systems start from a descriptory statement. Which one you feel is most applicable IS mostly arbitrary. It's a basic philosophical problem. You absolutely can find another ethical system if you like. Natural rights are certainly not the only possible such construct.However, lists of rights such as the UN list do not stem from a single ethical system. It's more like a popular list of generally nice things. This is inherently a different sort of thing.

Ok, I see where you are coming from here. Although I do think the UN is following largely one kind of ethical system. Those other sentences you said were basically not necessary.
Tyndmyr wrote:Natural Rights has jack-all to do with nature. Please. Stop equating the two.

It is simple recognition that society is built from the smallest unit to the largest.

Then stop calling them natural. Call them rights for an individual or something. Stop using diction that confuses people, I don't care if Locke or Socrates or Jefferson or Napoleon said it, if your word has no relation to their actual meaning, it obscures your point.

Again, your framework is still leaving out the important aspect of how one atom (your individual) interacts with another. Which is again, why your system is so unsatisfactory and incomplete.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:57 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:All ethics systems start from a descriptory statement. Which one you feel is most applicable IS mostly arbitrary. It's a basic philosophical problem. You absolutely can find another ethical system if you like. Natural rights are certainly not the only possible such construct.However, lists of rights such as the UN list do not stem from a single ethical system. It's more like a popular list of generally nice things. This is inherently a different sort of thing.

Ok, I see where you are coming from here. Although I do think the UN is following largely one kind of ethical system. Those other sentences you said were basically not necessary.


Fair enough...I will agree that there's at least some agreement among the UN between ethical systems...not complete, certainly, but they're at least close enough to come to some agreement.

infernovia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Natural Rights has jack-all to do with nature. Please. Stop equating the two.

It is simple recognition that society is built from the smallest unit to the largest.

Then stop calling them natural. Call them rights for an individual or something. Stop using diction that confuses people, I don't care if Locke or Socrates or Jefferson or Napoleon said it, if your word has no relation to their actual meaning, it obscures your point.

Again, your framework is still leaving out the important aspect of how one atom (your individual) interacts with another. Which is again, why your system is so unsatisfactory and incomplete.


Natural Rights is the historical term. It's what the entire world calls them. As I said earlier, I'm very ok with using a term such as Individual Rights or something, but the OP used the historical term, so the thing keeps popping up. Hard to avoid.

Natural Rights also do not encompass all of social interaction, though they do inform it. Any system that would deny it's individuals the right to life(Nazi Germany being a classic example) is immoral. There are, however, many possible societies that do not violate this. As ethical systems go, they're pretty basic, and many more comprehensive systems rely on them...but by themselves, they don't cover a ton of ground.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Coyne » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:52 pm UTC

I think that the first two questions are a self-answering, in a way.

Consider the animals: As far as I can see, they have no natural rights.They must accept whatever conditions exist around them and, at best, can escape an undesirable condition only by fleeing. But that, also, solves nothing because an animal can know nothing of the conditions of the area into which it is fleeing; it can consult no reference for advice.

Oh, yes, I'm sure some people would maintain that an animal goes where it wills; takes what it wants; chooses its mate and companions; and flees where it chooses. That those are natural rights. But those are only capabilities. As we define rights, these do not qualify since their exercise can be blocked at any time by a stronger animal or the presence of a predator.

Rights can only exist where an "arbitrator" can confirm that rights are infringed and has the power to require cessation of infringement.

So, I would argue that only humans can make a claim that there is a such a thing as a natural right; which humans will also define. Which means that a "natural right" really doesn't exist, except as a mental construction.
In all fairness...

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby capefeather » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:58 am UTC

Can we please stop making claims that our opinions are not arbitrary? Everything is arbitrary. Even mathematics as most people use it stems from an infinitely long list of rules that people like to be held as true. Sound familiar, guy who criticizes the UN list?

The way I see it, the whole discussion of natural rights is bullshit. The only thing that matters is agreement, because without agreement between the humans, there is no other force that can set a statement to "true" or "false". You have Descartes' "cogito ergo sum" and... what else? It is true that there is no society without individuals, but conversely, individuals have no meaning without society. We're just bits of a meta-ecosystem that's trying not to die. We're not even cells in that analogy. But as part of our efforts to be happy, we like to think that we matter to someone, and that is where society comes in. I view society as a project that often needs people to work together, but also often needs people to do things their own way. Individualism AND cooperation are both necessary for us to derive meaning from our lives. You can't get that with one or the other alone.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:17 pm UTC

capefeather wrote:Can we please stop making claims that our opinions are not arbitrary? Everything is arbitrary. Even mathematics as most people use it stems from an infinitely long list of rules that people like to be held as true. Sound familiar, guy who criticizes the UN list?


If you insist that EVERYTHING is arbitrary, then the word itself has no meaning. It's not useful to distinguish one thing from another, or to communicate anything.

I would suggest that, on the contrary, not everything is arbitrary. The rules of mathematics are not particularly arbitrary, for instance. From a very few starting premises, we can extrapolate a grand system that allows us to explain much of the way in which the world works. It is not a good example of arbitrariness at all, and how "most people use it" is not relevant.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby capefeather » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:35 am UTC

We don't exactly need the ZFC axioms specifically to base the laws of physics on. In fact, it's hard to find an application for the axiom of choice; it's main goal is really to make some branches of math a lot nicer-looking... So yeah, the foundations of mathematics are, ultimately, pretty arbitrary. Some people even disagree with them in ways that almost no one would care about other than the logicians. We found a lot of harsh truths about logic in the last century, and we can either ignore them or accept them. I think it's better in the long run to accept them.

In the end, I hope this isn't used as a roundabout way of saying you'd like to present your opinions as objective in the face of disagreement <.<

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Eomund » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:21 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
capefeather wrote:Can we please stop making claims that our opinions are not arbitrary? Everything is arbitrary. Even mathematics as most people use it stems from an infinitely long list of rules that people like to be held as true. Sound familiar, guy who criticizes the UN list?


If you insist that EVERYTHING is arbitrary, then the word itself has no meaning. It's not useful to distinguish one thing from another, or to communicate anything.

I would suggest that, on the contrary, not everything is arbitrary. The rules of mathematics are not particularly arbitrary, for instance. From a very few starting premises, we can extrapolate a grand system that allows us to explain much of the way in which the world works. It is not a good example of arbitrariness at all, and how "most people use it" is not relevant.


I wouldn't say everything is arbitrary. Every starting place is arbitrary. You can say I will start here and see what morality or rights should be given to people. I can start somewhere else and get completely different rights.

As for mathematics, it is extremely arbitrary. Have you heard of Euclidean vs non-Euclidean geometry? I'll agree that once you have your axioms it is not arbitrary, but what axioms you start with is.

This does not mean that every starting place is valid. Some starting places will lead to contradictions *cough* Steve Waterman *cough*.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:36 pm UTC

Eomund wrote:I wouldn't say everything is arbitrary. Every starting place is arbitrary. You can say I will start here and see what morality or rights should be given to people. I can start somewhere else and get completely different rights.

As for mathematics, it is extremely arbitrary. Have you heard of Euclidean vs non-Euclidean geometry? I'll agree that once you have your axioms it is not arbitrary, but what axioms you start with is.

This does not mean that every starting place is valid. Some starting places will lead to contradictions *cough* Steve Waterman *cough*.


This is precisely correct. The axioms math starts with are arbitrary, but the mathmatical systems resulting from them or not, and those arbitrary starting conditions are much more valuable than many other sets of arbitrary starting conditions.

But mathmatics as a whole are not arbitrary merely because the initial axioms are. In the same way, derived morals are not arbitrary merely because they stem from arbitrary initial premises.

As for which starting premises are best...I don't know that we have a modern philosophical equivalent to Natural/Individual Rights, but at least historically, there have been some. It's been a minute since I've been in political philosophy, but I recall some dissension about this topic among european philosophers who disagreed with Locke.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby setzer777 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:43 pm UTC

Yeah, my main argument in the first post is that rights (and moral imperatives) do not exist as part of the fabric of the universe.

I also think that it makes more sense to talk about rights as things we decide, rather than as things we discover. They are more akin to the rules of football (which we craft to suit our taste) than to the laws of physics (which we craft to perform the amazing task of predicting the future).
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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:38 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:Yeah, my main argument in the first post is that rights (and moral imperatives) do not exist as part of the fabric of the universe.

I also think that it makes more sense to talk about rights as things we decide, rather than as things we discover. They are more akin to the rules of football (which we craft to suit our taste) than to the laws of physics (which we craft to perform the amazing task of predicting the future).


They're sort of in between. The laws of football are, in large degree, pretty arbitrary. Sure, some stem from perfectly logical places, but the game itself, like most games, have pretty arbitrary bounds. Math, on the other hand, is extremely testable against reality.

They're philosophy, really. So, you can determine value based on results(solipsism is useless by this metric), and you can logically demonstrate the chains of reasoning themselves. However, the results are, to at least some degree, subjective. I mean, people adhering to differing philosophies may not even agree as to how to measure the end result. So, we can in some cases establish that a philosophy is absolute bunk, or even rate certain philosophies against each other...but we can't necessarily do that with all of them.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Eomund » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:22 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote: Math, on the other hand, is extremely testable against reality.


I can't agree at all with this. The only thing math is testable against is itself. I again refer to the Euclidean vs non-Euclidean example. Each works regardless of reality.

How do you prove something in mathematics? By empirically testing it against reality? No. That is science. With math you pick some axioms to start with and derive your system from them. Maybe I'm completely wrong but that's how I see things.

To stay more on topic, I see rights and morals the same way. From whatever starting point you choose you will derive different rights and morals. Pick a different starting point and you'll get different rights and morals.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:03 pm UTC

Eomund wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote: Math, on the other hand, is extremely testable against reality.


I can't agree at all with this. The only thing math is testable against is itself. I again refer to the Euclidean vs non-Euclidean example. Each works regardless of reality.


What's unrealistic about non-Euclidean geometry? It perfectly matches reality when used in the appropriate domain.

How do you prove something in mathematics? By empirically testing it against reality? No. That is science. With math you pick some axioms to start with and derive your system from them. Maybe I'm completely wrong but that's how I see things.

To stay more on topic, I see rights and morals the same way. From whatever starting point you choose you will derive different rights and morals. Pick a different starting point and you'll get different rights and morals.


Not all maths are equal though. You could start with the axioms of "pie is good" and "pie is purple", and derive nothing useful at all.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby morriswalters » Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:09 pm UTC

As it turns out some things or variation of those things appear over and over again in the historical records. If your going to live as a group you have to have some rules.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby capefeather » Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:04 am UTC

Eomund is right in that there's no inherent logical basis for an axiomatic starting point, or at least, if there is, then there is also necessarily something that derives it (the logical basis), which means THAT (or something more fundamental) is your starting point. Tyndmyr is right, too, in that at any given situation, we are trying to start with something that aligns with (or are themselves) our goals. Physics models, for example, aim to explain reality in a way that is "easy" to work with for a given situation. Still, the point stands: if I don't agree with your goals and/or your logical starting point, there's nothing to be said, and this discussion is pointless. Whimsical Eloquence even referred to Tyndmyr's starting point as an absurd hypothetical. We all might as well be speaking different languages.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Choboman » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:24 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Eomund wrote:Not all maths are equal though. You could start with the axioms of "pie is good" and "pie is purple", and derive nothing useful at all.

Purple is good?

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Bluewoods » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:35 pm UTC

I think that, to see if a right exists in nature, we have to first observe first what humans seek in a right, which is ultimately natural, right? We want the right to live because of our natural fear of death, among other things. The right to private property because of our natural propensity to entitlement, etc.

How are rights enforced? Not "naturally", of course. Rights are always enforced by voluntary action. If someone kills a member of their community without justification, either a justice system, a government, or the community itself will go after them.

Now, let's take humans in an uncivilized setting. What exactly would naturally, near flawlessly make a human enforce a concept as if it was a right? Let's see. The first thing that comes to my mind if the protection of the life of one's offspring. If you happen to live in a small African tribe, and you kill your neighbor's kid, you're most likely bound to be either executed or banished, right? The second thing that comes to mind is a form of justice. Now, even if, in your small African commune, there's no justice system, no government-based justice, and no community-based justice, you happen to go after, for example, your offspring's murderer, in a completely non-communal setting, and you kill him, whoever witnesses this and knows why you did it is likely to look the other way, hence recognizing your right to "justice" by not repressing your attempt at avenging your offspring. A possible third would be the right to a setting in which you can either work to survive or thrive, by your own actions or by others, depending on the society's level of advancement and their tendency to stick together. In any way, however it goes, there must be something that you can voluntarily do to be able to either survive or thrive, as opposed to strive or die. Even in our first world politics, both "left-wing" and "right-wing" politics have elements that represent one's right to means of surviving or thriving.

Now, you might say, none of this is black and white, right? For lots of reasons I won't bother going over, we can't say that any of these "rights", nor any other that could come to my mind, are "universal" per se. Well neither are constitutional or legal rights, since they exist to protect people from the other people who are opposed to these rights. In a way, there can't be a "right" without there being a "wrong" element within the ones who represent the rights to repress. So even if they were rights that we could consider to exist as "natural rights", we couldn't prove them to be universal, but we could observe that they're natural by finding them in natural settings, where there is no artificial build-up behind the philosophy of those rights.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:07 pm UTC

Choboman wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Eomund wrote:Not all maths are equal though. You could start with the axioms of "pie is good" and "pie is purple", and derive nothing useful at all.

Purple is good?


Trick set-up. That's a logical fallacy. =) Just because an object has two properties does not mean those properties are always correlated. :D

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Vince_Right » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:23 am UTC

Sorry for the long post, was reading some classics. Many in this thread state that Natural rights are useless, the thread is "Do natural rights exist?".
OK for me if hold the position they do not exist, but explain what that means (I give some examples below at the end of the post).
Impeach wrote:Also, I try to construct rights from the other direction. We should figure out what we DO NOT have the right to do to other people. That list is muuuuuch shorter than the infinite list of everything we are allowed to do with our time on earth. Like our constitution was designed to do to our government, our a logical construction of our 'rights' should tell us which boundaries we cannot cross. We have the right do do anything that does not cross these boundaries and to not have these boundaries crossed for you. A wise dude once said "The designer know he has achieved perfection, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." This is especially true when it comes to rights. It's not that I have the right to bear arms, it's that nobody else can claim the right to keep me from doing so. It's a boundary they do not have the right to cross. I do not have the right to use a weapon to cross anyone else's boundaries, only to keep them from crossing mine (or whatever other uses I can find that don't cross any boundaries).
This seems to go back to a simple definition of positive and negative rights.
You only have a right when unjustice is done to you, the right to get justice. You are not entitled to anything.
Whimsical Eloquence wrote:None of this looks like freedom to me.

This has been my latest quest. Rights exist to defend your freedom (statement on the essence of rights, not a definition). What the heck is freedom?
I still have contradictions in the definitions of freedom I´m using and these are based on belief!
Impeach wrote:You have a problem with rights because people get uppity and feel entitled to things that belong to other people? Well, that doesn't have to be a right just for rights to exist.
I believe this is shallow. I have been reading communist thinking to understand how people feel entitled.
I came to the conclusion that the same issue statement can be a positive or a negative right, depending on your permiss (capitalistic or communistic), to start off rights seem there to defend freedom, freedom seen from a individualistic or community standpoint are completely differently defined.
The capitalistic one has the advantage of being simple, the communistic one is more intellectual.
Eomund wrote:... I see rights and morals the same way. From whatever starting point you choose you will derive different rights and morals. Pick a different starting point and you'll get different rights and morals.
The above seems that I confirm this view partially. My current stance is that from a correct defintion of right, no premis and then using pure logic you come to one set of Natural Rights. My current issue is that with different defintions of "freedom" and thus "absense of freedom" or "force" or "action against an individual" my set of rights lead to different judgements, I do believe this has no influence on the Rights.
infernovia wrote:Rights are simply privileges that section of people would like not to have taken from them.
I really do not see how this is a defendable position, defintion.
Lets start with properties of natural rights: Universal, innate (given from existance), inalienable (you can not loose/sell them). For me that seems sufficient.
I actually find any social construct (Constitutional/Civil) incompatible with the term right and devaluating for natural rights.
setzer777 wrote:... I wasn't making the general argument of "people want different things therefore 'do unto others' can't be taken literally. I meant that the more general approach of "You would feel violated if someone stole from you, therefore you shouldn't steal from others" isn't necessarily rational. I'm saying that there's no logical problem with the stance "I want to murder as many people as possible while avoiding being murdered myself".
Logical statements do not help rationality. Inspired on Einstein, Logical arguments should be expressed as simple as possible not simpler.

To be proven: "You would feel violated if someone stole from you, therefore you shouldn't steal from others".
Defintion of a right is missing, but I could use the properties defined above.
Premiss: you feel violated if someone stole from you (feelings seem a bad premiss)
Premiss: you have the ability to have something exclusively for you (well it is a premiss)
Logical arguments:
- if you feel violated, it is a violation of your right.
- if it is a right the other has the right, due to innate property
- so it would be against rights of the other to steel from them
You should also show the antithesis is not rational, "If I feel violated that does not stop me from doing it to others" = similar to above, if I can do it it is not a right which is incoherent with I feel violated. (Premiss or antithesis is wrong, but under same premiss the antithesis does not stand).

"I want to murder as many people as possible while avoiding being murdered myself"
There is no logical problem, but there is also no right statement in it.
Try to prove: "I have the right to muder people, but the people do not have the right to murder me."
Tyndmyr wrote:.. Natural rights are, in short, a descriptive list of things you have in a "natural state".

We have an obsession with describing. I agree that you need something, otherwise there is nothing.
Natural rights are a lot more natural and a lot less descriptive then a list though. I would even say since I see natural rights as negative rights that they do not exist, unless there is a violation of rights. Many definions of natural rights include that they can not be described, not even by the UN, not even if they are ratified by many countries. The universal declaration of human rights does hold opinions according to me, opinions that are not rights.
Tyndmyr wrote: Now, you can approach this two ways...purely from a single individuals viewpoint(The ideal outcome is one in which all others do my bidding), or from an "every individual" viewpoint, in which all are equal. The former has a better ideal outcome, but a much worse typical outcome, so from a game theory POV, it's extremely reasonable to select the latter viewpoint.
Your "single individuals viewpoint", seems to be linked to the view of Hobbes. What I can do is my right to do. I do think this is universal, if you believe "war of all against all" is the only concept of rights than so be it, but I do believe this ends up in "war of all against you". The latter being the "every individual" viewpoint.

Both "single individuals" and "every individual" viewpoint do coexist, it is "might is right". Do we punish actions against natural rights or do we not, actually the issue is clearly both "single individuals" and "every individual" viewpoint allow violations of rights. "I can do, but you not" against "We have the freedom to decide about your freedom", punishment is part of justice though, justice does not change rights, the violation of rights does not change rights. I tend to follow Kant, we can only discuss with reason, so "all are equal" should be logical and "some are more then others" should be illogical. It is not a maximum outcome according to game theory that should be leading.
Tyndmyr wrote:
setzer777 wrote:The problem I have with rights as logical constructs is that they usually seem to rest on assumptions that are very easy to reject while still having a coherent model of reality.

For example, the "do unto others" principle rests on the assumption that all humans should be treated equally, and that you shouldn't alter your desires or actions based on a difference such as one person being *you* and everyone else not being you. But you can be perfectly logically consistent while treating yourself differently than you treat everyone else, and caring about your own desires while caring less about others'.
Well, here's the problem. If you adopt such a position, then Steve will have no particular motivation not to adopt the mirror image of "treating people differently because they are not Steve". So, you opt to ignore things such as a right to property, and take Steve's things. Steve cannot very well continue treating you perfectly equal and fairly without becoming disadvantaged. So, Steve ignores your right to property, and takes your things. The two of you come into conflict, and in the long run, both of you are probably worse off than if the squabble had never taken place.

Since a state of cooperation is more preferable to a state of conflict, a position of equality should be adopted until the other party signals they have no interest in such.
I think where "you can be perfectly logically consistent while treating yourself differently than you treat everyone else" does not have a lot of value that you use premiss that destroy the value of the logic to start with. My discussions on this generally come down to: Newton F = m * a has the premiss m is a constant, it is a valid logical reasoning that is behind this. Einstein E = m c2 has the premiss that E is constant and m is variable. Einstein proved Newton´s premiss wrong. For me the Newton formula is very valuable, since I do not travel at the speed of light, Einstein is right, but less valuable for my day to day.

"a state of cooperation is more preferable to a state of conflict" does not change rights, back to logic:

To be proven "all are equal"
Defintion of right: see properties above.
Logical statement:
- I have the right
- Since it is a right the other has it (innate property)
- all are equal before rights
We actually are all different, have different talents, etc... you can only prove we are equal before rights.

To be proven "some have more rights then others"
Defintion of right: see properties above.
Logical statement:
- I have more rights then others
- Since it is a right the other has it (innate property)
- The statment is wrong or the innate property is wrong.
If the innate property is wrong, natural rights can be taken away, so someone can take away your rights so you have less rights then them.
So anyone that rejects the innate property has to explain to the others under what conditions their rights can be taken away.
Let me be very clear, you can do injustice to me, but you can not take away my rights!
Tyndmyr wrote:... The whole "state of nature" bit merely explains the etymological origins of "natural rights", due to the conflation of an individual living alone being viewed as somehow "natural".

We could, frankly, ignore that bit altogether, and simply call them "individual rights", and that would be rather more descriptive in modern parlance.
I would state this differently, natural rights come naturally to anything existing. Individual rights imply many more premises to me, premisses that introduce mistakes. Natural rights, I see equivalent to gravity, unavoidable, universal, innate.
infernovia wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:I certainly do agree that they are fundamentally a social construct but are different to most social construct in that the Human Rights that we posses, in respect to International law, are inalienable. They are something that we have, that can never be taken away, ever [as long as there is enough power somewhere to enforce these rights for you].


Fixed it for you.
Even if rights are violated or not enforced/completely understood they exist. Give me a definition of rights that is logical and proves the contrary otherwise.
Eomund wrote:But then what does it mean to have a right if it is violated. Are they just a fancy list mentioned by the UN that has no effect on society? Because if I can be treated the same whether or not I have a right, what difference does it make that I have a right? For a right to have any meaning or purpose there needs to be some authority I can appeal to if my rights are being violated, otherwise what's the point of having a right?
Indeed a Right is only a justification of your actions against the actions of others, you might not win the argument, but that does not change the rights, it only proves you live in an injust society. The current law in society is there since people understand some rights and have fought together against the wrong (right violations).
setzer777 wrote:Okay, but outside of people's willingness to enforce those rights, they don't really matter. Rights exist in the same way that the rules of football exist - they only matter to people who are playing the game.
Can you avoid the game? Does not all society need a sence of justice (See Adam Smith)? Is justice not based on arguments with rights? Is our only way to argument not reason? So if you can define what a right is and based on that definition with reason to come to rights, are they not rights, the only way to argument for justice?

I agree that rights are useless if you do not fight for them, but your only basis to fight is rights.
If you fight for rights you can defend your action, if you fight for arbitrary desires, you open yourself for arbitrary action.
Whimsical Eloquence wrote:... The conceit of "Natural Rights" is to try to paint one set of social institutions (usually property) as being in some sense antecedent to the State and therefore enjoying some higher class of protection or legitimacy than another set social institutions.
I challenge anyone to come with a logical objective argumentation that makes sense (Definition, premiss, logical statements, ..) that lead to Property is a natural right or human are the only ones to have natural rights.
I agree that is where natural rights generally go wrong, not in their concept, but in people trying to construct them on their misconceptions of reality.

As most understood here positive rights are not natural, they are social constructs, maybe we should stop talking about them here.
Tyndmyr wrote:..Natural rights are not just a wishlist. They have a different origin than do arbitrary lists of rights, such as the UNs. We arrive at them by induction, not by declaration....

+1 but declaration is needed to discuss and the declaration itself is a human construct, that we see mistakes in that Human Construct does not change the right, however it is used by sceptics to attack the right.

For the sceptics: "There is a Natural Right not to be physically hurt."
Do you believe any legislation can be made that is acceptable and does not accept this?
setzer777 wrote:The choice to base our notion of "rights" on a person's capabilities in a fictional world where they are the only inhabitant sounds pretty arbitrary to me.
Actually capabilities are not important for rights, that we have the capability to understand Natural Rights and can argue about them does not change them, we did not invent gravity either, we have not been able to change gravity either.
Natural Rights have the beauty to even exist in fincitional worlds, as long as these are logical.
Tyndmyr wrote:A natural right is a right that exists in a "state of nature". IE, you living all by yourself, the smallest unit of society. No government. No power structures of any kind. Just you and nature.
I do not believe that you can use logic on this defintion, it is circular "the great god is the first god" kind of thing, it is worth something for you, not for anyone else.
I can live with: A natural right is a right that you can reason in a "state of nature". IE, you living all by yourself. Even without society you can understand how you ought to interact, you can understand social order and logically will come to the same conclusions as others, it is objective, not a subjective negotiation. The "is" is the existance of the right, the "ought to" only is there since the right is not enforced.
Whimsical Eloquence wrote:So your metric for Rights is "what do individuals need"? That's excellent - we're at last in agreement; I place individuals and their needs central too. I just have no idea what any of that has to do with the Lockean intriuge you've given us. Even if I accept what you assert constitutes "natural", or "fundamental" as you seem to have shifted to, what does any of that have to do with assessing the best rights for individuals? A much better way to conceive of Rights, would be to see them as choices we ought to make as a Society about the best ways to fulfil that metric, "what do individuals need".

As I see it central to the individual's need is protection from the privation of want and disease and the deprivations of their fellows so that they might have the security to prosper with their property and actualisations - this to me is freedom. To justify this, I might go into detail about the needs people have and how best to ensure those needs are met - no where within that justification need I invoke some Lockean playground fantasy.
Are we moving to John Stuart Mill with "choices we ought to make as a Society about the best ways to fulfil that metric, "what do individuals need"", away from the individual and towards "the greater good", "the means justify the ends"!

"protection from the privation of want and disease and the deprivations of their fellows so that they might have the security to prosper with their property and actualisations - this to me is freedom."
Missing some skills to understand this:
- privation of want?
- deprivations of their fellows?
Basically your definition of freedom seems Capitalistic, freedom is protection from bad things, even if protection from desease seems a positive right in it.
Who will you force with an order from justice to pivate you of disease?
Coyne wrote:...Consider the animals: As far as I can see, they have no natural rights.They must accept whatever conditions exist around them and, at best, can escape an undesirable condition only by fleeing. But that, also, solves nothing because an animal can know nothing of the conditions of the area into which it is fleeing; it can consult no reference for advice.

Oh, yes, I'm sure some people would maintain that an animal goes where it wills; takes what it wants; chooses its mate and companions; and flees where it chooses. That those are natural rights. But those are only capabilities. As we define rights, these do not qualify since their exercise can be blocked at any time by a stronger animal or the presence of a predator.

Rights can only exist where an "arbitrator" can confirm that rights are infringed and has the power to require cessation of infringement.

So, I would argue that only humans can make a claim that there is a such a thing as a natural right; which humans will also define. Which means that a "natural right" really doesn't exist, except as a mental construction.
You have not understood 1 thing of natural rights it seems to me.
1) That animals are not consious of their rights does not change the existance of their rights. Similar for babies or people in coma.
2) Animal rights movements only can argument with natural rights to get a legislation of animal rights, humans "arbitrate" about animals. Even without arbitration the right does not change, it only is a basis when there is an arbitration to be done.
3) With the preditor we are at canibalism, why is canibalism not acceptable? It is only a situation of a predator and a weaker victim.
4) Humans do not define Natural rights, they do not invent them, they discover them. Just like man discovered America.
5) Mental constructions are less arbitrary then most seem to believe. Why do we understand each other, why can we understand science in the same way?
capefeather wrote:... So yeah, the foundations of mathematics are, ultimately, pretty arbitrary. Some people even disagree with them in ways that almost no one would care about other than the logicians.
The foundations of mathematics is logic, sorry but logic is not arbitrary.
The implementation of mathematics uses premisses (axiomas), some of these are arbitrary (pure theoretical), that does not change the foundations (see Newton above) just the value of the individual logical statement.
capefeather wrote:We found a lot of harsh truths about logic in the last century, and we can either ignore them or accept them. I think it's better in the long run to accept them.
In the end, I hope this isn't used as a roundabout way of saying you'd like to present your opinions as objective in the face of disagreement <.<
I can not comprehend what you are saying here, can you point me to the logical statement that shows logic is illogical?
Otherwise can we use logic.
Bluewoods wrote:...Now, let's take humans in an uncivilized setting. What exactly would naturally, near flawlessly make a human enforce a concept as if it was a right? Let's see. The first thing that comes to my mind if the protection of the life of one's offspring. If you happen to live in a small African tribe, and you kill your neighbor's kid, you're most likely bound to be either executed or banished, right? The second thing that comes to mind is a form of justice. Now, even if, in your small African commune, there's no justice system, no government-based justice, and no community-based justice, you happen to go after, for example, your offspring's murderer, in a completely non-communal setting, and you kill him, whoever witnesses this and knows why you did it is likely to look the other way, hence recognizing your right to "justice" by not repressing your attempt at avenging your offspring. ... In a way, there can't be a "right" without there being a "wrong" element within the ones who represent the rights to repress. So even if they were rights that we could consider to exist as "natural rights", we couldn't prove them to be universal, but we could observe that they're natural by finding them in natural settings, where there is no artificial build-up behind the philosophy of those rights.
+1000 thanks for that post this is close to a definition. Rights do not exist, untill there is "wrong", but if reason makes that you accept "the right to action against that wrong", it must be univeral or reason, logic becomes subjective. People make mistakes in their reasoning, that is why Natural Rights have not been written down perfectly yet (equal for science), that we do not know the Natural Rights perfectly, does not change their existance (as for laws of physics).
setzer777 wrote:I'm not arguing against rights as a useful human construct (as pointed out, they serve an important role in society), I just don't think they exist apart from our social agreement that they do.
If rights are a human construct, what do you use to defend injust legislation, what is your reference?
Legilation is a hunan construct, what does it try to accomplish, except for making natural rights more explicit?
Do groups, herds, prides, hives, ... of animals act in line with rights as human constructs?

Why would you fight the next (historical examples not my opinion):
"Jews should be exterminated", "Gypsies should be locked up", "Not civilised people can be used as slaves", "Women should not learn to read"

In the view of setzer777, this is fully equivalent with our current ethics, the only reason this is not the current ethics in western society is since people that were strongest did not think it is important. I go further someone puts the law: "Jews should be exterminated"; I follow the law, when they change the law, I follow that law, I did nothing wrong.
Ethics are pure social constructs leads to: society can decide on my life, North Korea is correct in forbidding their inhabitants to leave the country, the individual inhabitants are wrong in claiming it is their right to see their family in South Korea, the social construct does not give them the right.
In short: Rights are social constructs means that you accept that rights can change all the time (with revolutions), what you can defend as your right today might be completely undefendable tomorrow. Again Hobbes, "war of all against all" and it is justified.
The natural rights view is "war of all against all" is injust, if people respect your rights, you have no right to attack them.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby infernovia » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:08 pm UTC

Vince Right wrote:I really do not see how this is a defendable position, defintion [that Rights are simply privileges that section of people would like not to have taken from them]

Lets start with properties of natural rights: Universal, innate (given from existance), inalienable (you can not loose/sell them). For me that seems sufficient.
I actually find any social construct (Constitutional/Civil) incompatible with the term right and devaluating for natural rights.

[...]
Premiss: you feel violated if someone stole from you (feelings seem a bad premiss)
Premiss: you have the ability to have something exclusively for you (well it is a premiss)
Logical arguments:
- if you feel violated, it is a violation of your right.
- if it is a right the other has the right, due to innate property
- so it would be against rights of the other to steel from them

[...]
Even if rights are violated or not enforced/completely understood they exist. Give me a definition of rights that is logical and proves the contrary otherwise.

Contradiction in one. If someone can steal from you, you have nothing exclusive to yourself as it's alienable. The reason you call it a right is because you don't want other people to steal from you.

Actually, I find your post filled with mistakes, but I don't feel like bringing all of it down.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Philosophish » Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:31 pm UTC

Age old question, indeed, but being a philosopher myself, I'd have to go for a Spinoza-approach on this one, which basically entails that:

There is no inherent right in objects. Rights are boundaries laid down upon us, being self-aware, by our fellow members of any form of community (from classrooms, to brotherhoods, friendships and eventually societies). There is no such thing as "may or may not" or "allowed to or not allowed to" embedded in anything in nature, since there is no sense of rights nor obligations in any existing particle an-sich (There is no molecule that somehow embeds the notion of "killing is wrong but licking an ice cream is cool"). The only things that are not allowed are things that are impossible to do.
(Spinoza took this into a religious argument, stating that if we'd think that something should be possible but isn't, then we'd be wrong in the first place - otherwise god would have made it possible. But I'm not touching any religious part of this subject.)

So simply put: being able to do X, means you may do X.

Now, the most brought counter argument is that of "then that means killing is alright," which actually isn't a correct counterargument at all (since I'm dismantling morality as a whole, I therefore speak of neither wrong nor right). Killing is not wrong, nor is it right. It's a fact that may or may not occur and nothing more.

Though, having said that, mind you, that I'm not saying it is necessarily wise to do X. Naturally speaking, you are allowed to - let's take that same example as before - kill a man (say, to protect your child, or perhaps simply on a whim, going 'ladieda'), since you are able to do so, but that does not mean it is wise to do it. Simply acknowledging that you may kill, does not mean that others (read: society) acknowledge this as well - and even if they do, they might disagree with the act due to the success of society being their common goal, á la "you may kill, sure, but we're trying to build something here, so we hereby declare that if you do, we will lock you up due to obstruction of this goal" (and I'm not even starting on any holy rights or spiritual arguments, either) - which, going by the fact that the "can=may" applies to not only you, they are allowed to say.

for the TL;DR'ers:

Naturalistically speaking: one can do whatever the f* one wants, but this entails that this applies to everyone else as well. These other people that form a judging society, have therefore the same right, and can therefore react to whatever you chose to do - however unreasonable you'd think it might be. So even though I acknowledge that I can kill on a whim, that doesn't make it a smart thing to do.

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Vince_Right » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:20 am UTC

infernovia wrote:Contradiction in one. If someone can steal from you, you have nothing exclusive to yourself as it's alienable. The reason you call it a right is because you don't want other people to steal from you.
Where is the contradiction? Can people steal you, can people steal your right? They can steal goods since goods are not innalieable, this states nothing about rights.
There is no right to property in goods (still struggling with property of yourself), I´ll agree with that, property is a pure social construct. I also agree most abuse the term right, but again that is not a proof rights do not exist.
Try to make a logical statement that states universal, innalienable rights can not exist since they are a contradiction in itself and I might start to understand your point.
infernovia wrote:Actually, I find your post filled with mistakes, but I don't feel like bringing all of it down.
What is the use of posting in a forum a statement that you do not like to discuss things?
Philosophish wrote:...There is no inherent right in objects. Rights are boundaries laid down upon us, being self-aware, by our fellow members of any form of community (from classrooms, to brotherhoods, friendships and eventually societies). ...Naturalistically speaking: one can do whatever the f* one wants, but this entails that this applies to everyone else as well. These other people that form a judging society, have therefore the same right, and can therefore react to whatever you chose to do - however unreasonable you'd think it might be. So even though I acknowledge that I can kill on a whim, that doesn't make it a smart thing to do.
My view on this, you can see most things on 3 levels:
Universal level: yes, dust to dust, earth to earth, ashes to ashes => what we little people do or think has absolutely no relevant impact on the Universe.
Group/Society level: how does a society, group of elements interact
Individual level: what can every individual expect

What Philosophish describes is a Universal view, true but only part of the story.
One thing that bugs me: It brings in a new element: being self-aware, without any justification why this is needed. "Being self-aware" is needed for judgement of responsibility, no issue with that; it has nothing to do with rights or the existance of rights in my view on rights.
Reasoning on an individual level will lead to a right that defends your freedom will lead to an obligation to respect that right in others, logically it is easy to reject any other rights system, they just do not exist.
If you choose to only follow the universal level, you have no rights (might is right, survival of the fittest), all becomes dogmatic, given by God or the the Ubermensch, there is no point in discussing: follow the rules given or fight to show you are the Ubermensch, totalitrian reign is the only valid government (Leviathan). If you look at things on an individual level, you see freedom as the basis, there are some things that logically can not be touched, that will always be your individual right. So the question "Do natural rights exist?" is equivalent to "Does freedom of the individual exist?".

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby infernovia » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:55 pm UTC

You create a "right" based on the idea that you can own something exclusively, thus anyone who violates it by stealing it is violating your right. I am saying that because someone can steal it, you cannot own anything exclusively, and the you only "own" it due to either your own power or through the power of society/agreement you have with society. Thus, it is a contradiction as you are posing a "right" that is based on fictitious concepts like "exclusively owning a thing." Well, maybe not a contradiction, but at least a faulty premise.

The reason I am not countering your whole argument is that I would basically use the same argument each time you bring up any "right," and I find it tedious and unreadable to attack things like that. Just to give examples: the right to live and breath? A life can be taken away with a gun, so it is something alienable. Right to property? Can be taken from you. Every single thing you mention is ultimately "alienable" and I don't find anything in your post substantiating things that are inalienable, thus I think your whole concept is divorced from reality.

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Selfishness

Postby Spiky » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:07 am UTC

This thread is funny. I didn't read quite every word, most, but I'm pretty sure nothing like the following has been said....

First, about existence....everything discussed here exists. Thoughts in the human brain stem from intricate physical orderings of dendrites and other bits of brain cells, plus chemical reactions. That is clearly existent, we could cut your brain open to prove it. (if we could map it well enough to find the right spot) The reason people feel that is too esoteric to assume "existence", and then argue about whether thoughts exist, is merely that they have only one way to access these "thoughts", commonly refered to as "thinking", which is unfortunately weighed down with imperfection. If we could access them individually with wires like we can RAM, (well, first, that would be terrifying, like the island of dreams near Narnia) this topic would change dramatically in a short number of years. But that's not what the thread is really about.

So, "rights" are humans' way of coping with this conflict: (1) The base drive that is in all living organisms (flora and fauna) is selfishness. (2) However, some of these thoughts we've had for millenia caused us to feel the selfishness is not (always) appropriate. Mostly these are attributed to conscience or religion. So we try to give "rights" existence in order to make us feel better about our inherent selfishness, and grudgingly we "give" them to everyone else, as well. (mainly so everyone else doesn't kill us) I would actually say they are merely an advanced form of defensive selfishness, preemptively trying to stop the bigger guy from killing us by making him think about it. (like, maybe we'll bring 2 guys and he isn't "bigger" anymore) Round and round we go until finally we just say: let's not kill people. There is also an inherent protection circuit for our children that most species demonstrate, this does throw a wrinkle in my theories here, but I'll waft that away with a simple: that's temporary, and is simply a broadening of the selfishness to species-level for that time period.

Every comment made here has been showing the varying levels of how the individuals "feel better" about their selfishness. Like, 'I'm not really as selfish if I think others shouldn't be killed, either. Yeah, that sounds better.' Perhaps that list from the USA should be called Bill of Selfish Acts That We've Decided Are Ok By Popular Agreement. It's not as catchy, though. Anyway, this is why rights change from millenium to millenium, society to society, from dictatorship to democracy, etc. Every person has a different opinion. Or, in other words: No, there are no natural rights, just guilt-ridden acts we've made up over many years, and tried to make very very important. In fact, I'd call the phrase an oxymoron. There are natural rules we must follow (gravity, water content, temperature variations), everything else is just me trying to keep me alive. Cause, dammit, I'm worth it!

The only problem I still have with my thoughts is: endorphins. The one hole I can't honestly explain. Stupid pituitary.

And yes, this is all my theory/observation/interpretation. Try not to assume I'm claiming to dictate "fact" to anyone. (<<--apparently I need to write this every time I say something on the internet now, long story, sorry)

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Re: Do natural rights exist?

Postby Vince_Right » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:56 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:... the right to live and breath? A life can be taken away with a gun, so it is something alienable. ...

Try not to mix up things in arguments.
1) The right = inalienable
2) Life = alienable
So if someone takes you life at random, they can not take away the right of someone to punish based on the act of killing. A punishment on a random killing is an inalienable (logical) right, even if the right is not exercised, it exists.

Anyway the input here helped me a lot with understanding why we have trouble with Natural Rights:

It is clear that the "war of all against all" is a possible state. This is absurd as an organisation. Hobbes puts the solution with the Monarch, I do not agree.
So is there a logical organisation? Thinking of society as a game where the members can set the rules, randomly. Yes, but ...
Take the definition of Adam Smith for society: A mutually useful union between its members.
So is "a mutually useful union" a random (human created) game or is it a logical game (human discovered).
Looking at game theory:
- Teaming up against a competitor is beneficial. (Cooperative game)
- If you can not team up (none cooperative game), you should "tit for tat" in repetitive games (like life). That "tit for tat" would set the rules, show that collaboration is better.
So the 2 different type of games lead to establish "a mutually useful union". It is logical, discovered by humans, universal as concept.

Now that it is established that it is logical to have a mutually useful union. Are there rules that are mandatory in a "mutually useful union":
I believe so, logically e.g.:
- I will not kill the other or the union will stop.
- I leave the other free to choose, or it would not be mutually useful anymore, I could impose my benefit against their loss.
- I will respect my part of a deal when the other respects his part, otherwise the usefulness disappears for the other.
these mandatory rules in a universal concept are then "Natural rights".

So when do these natural rights apply: Natural rights are universal, innate, inalienable in any mutually useful union.
You can have an absurd union (I believe that is the standard model on earth), but that such an absurd union is the standard model, does not mean that a mutually useful union is not possible, it does not mean natural rights do not exist. Actually the issue that leads to absurdity is not that we do not want to respect "Natural rights" but that we go too specific and mix natural rights up with culture, we miss the original trees in creating a man made forest (legislation).

To go to leadership: my stance is: authority comes through the respect of natural rights, if you do not respect Natural Rights you are steering towards a revolution. People will not see the union as useful and will react in a way which as the same absurdness as the rules put down on them.
So it is all simple? No, e.g. To protect your freedom you need to protect the freedom of others or "you can not have freedom with equals (consequence of useful union) without having a limitation caused by their freedom". How about Women's rights, Animal rights, computer rights etc... are they Natural rights? It seems linked to the scope of "the mutually useful union" and the revolution that would defend their rights, if you exclude women from the game, you do not need to respect the rules, until they prove they are an indespensible part of the game.

In short: "Might is right" exists and does not lead to a mutually useful union (e.g. men unite (mutually useful) to deny women's rights (not mutually useful union)), it is a form of living together, but it is also absurd.
"A mutually useful union" is a logical universal concept, that innately and inalienably leads to Natural Rights for the members of the union, it is the logical/reasonable form of living together. It seems a lot here state: life is absurd, live with it; I remain with life can be logical, but you have to fight for it, fight for your Natural Rights.

Back to "So if someone takes you life at random, they can not take away the right of someone to punish based on the act of killing."
The one taking your life at random is outside of the useful union, the act is absurd, incompatible with a mutually useful union.
The right of someone to punish you based on the act of killing: is Tit for Tat (logical), a corrective action that tries to convince the killer back in the useful union we call Human Society. Now this only answers if Natural Rights exist, not how you establish them.


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