View Poll Results: Are Rights Natural?

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    27 40.30%
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    32 47.76%
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Thread: Are Rights Natural?

  1. #251
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    Re: Are Rights Natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    Do you think these natural rights, as they are divined by insights into human nature, are subject to change if, for instance, human nature changes because of something like genetic engineering that changes our core mental structure or if we install networked communications into our brains and start merging thoughts with one another?

    I know its hypothetical, but I am probing the philosophy to see its rigidity.
    Something like Ghost in the Shell like? In using reason to probe the natural rights of humans, one usually starts by considering the natural environment. That is, one in which the individual exists in an environment free from external pressure and force; and from there you can derive the natural rights. What you are talking about is almost a merging of consciousness into maybe some super being. You start to get into differing philosophies at that point. Cassirer theorized that under such circumstance you would cease being human; thus human rights which are essentially what we talk about when talking of natural rights, would cease to apply.

    "There is, at least, one right that cannot be ceded or abandoned: the right to personality...They charged the great logician [Hobbes] with a contradiction in terms. If a man could give up his personality he would cease being a moral being. ... There is no pactum subjectionis, no act of submission by which man can give up the state of free agent and enslave himself. For by such an act of renunciation he would give up that very character which constitutes his nature and essence: he would lose his humanity." - Cassirer

    Does that mean that the rights of the individual, such as life, liberty, and property cease to exist? It's an interesting consideration because under such a circumstance the "individual" ceases to exist and instead everyone is part of a greater consciousness. Perhaps that consciousness is given the rights and the pieces of the whole are considered just building blocks to that consciousness.

    "The right to what is in essence inalienable is imprescriptible, since the act whereby I take possession of my personality, of my substantive essence, and make myself a responsible being, capable of possessing rights and with a moral and religious life, takes away from these characteristics of mine just that externality which alone made them capable of passing into the possession of someone else. When I have thus annulled their externality, I cannot lose them through lapse of time or from any other reason drawn from my prior consent or willingness to alienate them." - Hegel

    If you're really serious about wanting to learn more about natural rights and the philosophy behind them, I'd suggest picking up some works by Hobbes, Locke, or Paine.
    Last edited by Ikari; 03-03-10 at 07:43 PM.
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  2. #252
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    Re: Are Rights Natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Something like Ghost in the Shell like? In using reason to probe the natural rights of humans, one usually starts by considering the natural environment. That is, one in which the individual exists in an environment free from external pressure and force; and from there you can derive the natural rights. What you are talking about is almost a merging of consciousness into maybe some super being. You start to get into differing philosophies at that point. Cassirer theorized that under such circumstance you would cease being human; thus human rights which are essentially what we talk about when talking of natural rights, would cease to apply.

    "There is, at least, one right that cannot be ceded or abandoned: the right to personality...They charged the great logician [Hobbes] with a contradiction in terms. If a man could give up his personality he would cease being a moral being. ... There is no pactum subjectionis, no act of submission by which man can give up the state of free agent and enslave himself. For by such an act of renunciation he would give up that very character which constitutes his nature and essence: he would lose his humanity." - Cassirer

    Does that mean that the rights of the individual, such as life, liberty, and property cease to exist? It's an interesting consideration because under such a circumstance the "individual" ceases to exist and instead everyone is part of a greater consciousness. Perhaps that consciousness is given the rights and the pieces of the whole are considered just building blocks to that consciousness.

    "The right to what is in essence inalienable is imprescriptible, since the act whereby I take possession of my personality, of my substantive essence, and make myself a responsible being, capable of possessing rights and with a moral and religious life, takes away from these characteristics of mine just that externality which alone made them capable of passing into the possession of someone else. When I have thus annulled their externality, I cannot lose them through lapse of time or from any other reason drawn from my prior consent or willingness to alienate them." - Hegel

    If you're really serious about wanting to learn more about natural rights and the philosophy behind them, I'd suggest picking up some works by Hobbes, Locke, or Paine.
    Thanks for the offer. Either way, interesting answer.

    I do find one thing curious. You state:

    one usually starts by considering the natural environment. That is, one in which the individual exists in an environment free from external pressure and force
    Does it matter if the environment itself exerts pressure and force or is this philosophy ignore those? From what I can tell, all environments exert these things simply because there is no such thing as an ideal environment.

  3. #253
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    Re: Are Rights Natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    Does it matter if the environment itself exerts pressure and force or is this philosophy ignore those? From what I can tell, all environments exert these things simply because there is no such thing as an ideal environment.
    It's discussed in terms of government

    State of nature (natural state) is a term in political philosophy used in social contract theories to describe the hypothetical condition of humanity before the state's foundation. In a broader sense, the state of nature is the condition before the rule of positive law comes into being, thus being a synonym of anarchy. The idea of the state of nature was a part of a classical republicanism theory as a hypothetical reason of entering a state of society by establishing a government.

    In some versions of social contract theory, there are no rights in the state of nature, only freedoms, and it is the contract that creates rights and obligations. In other versions the opposite occurs: the contract imposes restrictions upon individuals that curtail their natural rights.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

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  4. #254
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    Re: Are Rights Natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    LOL! Have you been blogging about us, Cephus?



    Oh yes, we're unable to comprehend your argument, oh brilliant one. That must be it...

    You've invested too much in your strawman to go back now. You've reached the point of no return...
    Well some "debate" by ignoring arguments and just throwing out insults. It's an entirely cheap way of "debating" and only serves to bolster one's own preconceived notions and biases. But I suppose whatever floats their boat. It takes a certain amount of intellectual honesty and integrity to participate in debates. Some have it, some don't. Que sera sera
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

  5. #255
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    Re: Are Rights Natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    It's discussed in terms of government

    State of nature (natural state) is a term in political philosophy used in social contract theories to describe the hypothetical condition of humanity before the state's foundation. In a broader sense, the state of nature is the condition before the rule of positive law comes into being, thus being a synonym of anarchy. The idea of the state of nature was a part of a classical republicanism theory as a hypothetical reason of entering a state of society by establishing a government.

    In some versions of social contract theory, there are no rights in the state of nature, only freedoms, and it is the contract that creates rights and obligations. In other versions the opposite occurs: the contract imposes restrictions upon individuals that curtail their natural rights.
    I can't see when a state like that has ever happened. A person has to be a part of society if they ever hope to reproduce (unless there's rape) and even the most primitive tribal societies impose obligations among its members. Whether that means a member has to get a tattoo, participate in the gathering of food (which is almost always communal), religious rituals, coming of age rituals, the expectation of marriage and children, whatever. In fact, most primitive societies can be downright brutal because survival is hard work. Especially in South America. They often have a primitive government with elders, chiefs, spiritual leaders, etc and there tend to be severe punishments for going against that society's ways.

    But as far as I can tell, every society from the simplest to the most complex, impose obligations among its members and often these obligations are for the good of the society and its members, not just for a single individual. This would be tyranny and socialism.

    So, given that, is it only possible to live a truely libertarian existance alone?
    Last edited by tacomancer; 03-03-10 at 09:48 PM.

  6. #256
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    Re: Are Rights Natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    I can't see when a state like that has ever happened.
    Ugh! It hasn't happened. As was made clear by Ikari, it's a hypothetical state of humanity from which we are able to derive certain truths.

    Try reading A Theory of Justice by John Rawls if you want a better understanding of these kinds of philosophical hypotheticals.

  7. #257
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    Re: Are Rights Natural?

    You guy's replies on this forum are provide me with the information I need. My time is precious to me and chasing fairy tales is not a good use of it.

    Ok. So I tried looking at it from Ikari's perspective and I came to this conclusion:

    One one side, you have the philosophy of the mind, which is libertarianism. On the other, you have the philosophy of the body, which is communism.

    Here's what I mean.

    Mind:
    The entire concern is about freedoms. Life, Liberty, Property, The Pursuit of happiness. It all boils down to saying a person has a right to try to acquire these things. It says a man is rightful in pursuing or attempting to secure these concepts. If a man loses any of these things, he is free to pursue them again (except life of course, you only get one shot at that). It ignores the world around it, which is its flaw. If a man has no life or means of life, the other pursuits lose meaning.

    Body:
    The entire concern is around things like food, shelter, works. The practicals of life. However, in order to be fully implemented, a man would have to give up his libertarian freedoms to become a part of the system that provides those practical necessities. Its flaw is that it goes against human nature. Humans are pretty much going to try to do their own thing.

    So, yeah it truly looks like the mirror image of communism and with pretty much anything else in life, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, the question becomes, how can we achieve the optimal state for the needs of both the mind and the body. This pretty much explains while successful societies are the ones who can find this middle ground, such as the US, Europe, China is moving in that direction, Singapore, etc. They all have elements of both philosophies, as dictated by necessity.

    Ultimately though, this pretty much leads me back to my original point, but maybe a bit modified with this new information. Rights have to be socially constructed since they have to mediate and exist in a gray area between these two extremes.

    So yeah, socialism or any ism can be good, given the right context.

    Thanks for the debate guys.

    Looks like I got what I came here for, new information.

    I hope Libertarians never become fully in charge, because without the concerns about the practical matters of living, I foresee a lot of death and misery. Of course they will always be able to deflect blame because if they only had more faith and the libertarianism was more pure it would be better! Which is the same claim communists make. Hopefully it will never get beyond arguments on forums and to the point where we have a libertarian version of stalin. And yes I completely mean this. It may make me a bad person in your eyes, but I am ok with that.
    Last edited by tacomancer; 03-03-10 at 11:20 PM.

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    Re: Are Rights Natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    In short, do you believe the traditional rights, recognized by the US Constitution bill of rights to be natural or not?

    My personal view is that the only natural right is the right to try and accomplish your goals, either by using force or by not using force. In essence might makes right. This is evident in how nature operates and it seems to be how society operates when government is removed.

    Anything beyond that, such as free speech, the right to own a gun, etc are legal constructs that we, as a society, largely agree to. While these things are a good idea, there is nothing inherent about them.

    What is your view?
    I think rights originate from and serve biological imperatives, so as biological imperatives are natural, rights must also be natural.

  9. #259
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    Re: Are Rights Natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    I would say all societies require some sort of rights and restrictions on behavior in order to exist at all, unless you're talking about pure anarchism and that's not a viable, long-term social structure to begin with. Every society out there has their own social rules, things you can do and things you cannot. The idea that there is a single set of rules that applies to everyone, everywhere, is ridiculous on the face of it.
    Then maybe rights are natural.

    Depends on the type of government though.
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  10. #260
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    Re: Are Rights Natural?

    Someone please define "rights" in the context that we are discussing. What I see is a lot of talk about instincts and desires... at least how I see it.
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