Re: Ethics in a void (Re: meaning of life (RE: (repost) ))

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 15:30:18 MST

On Wed, Jan 24, 2001 at 11:51:23AM -0800, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> > I'm not attempting to derive natural rights -- I'm demonstrating that
> > there's no such thing as natural rights derived from human nature, and
> > that it's much more useful to view rights as constructions emerging
> > from social interaction.
> Your argument is also not sufficient for that purpose. You would need
> to examine more serious the pro argument and refute it. "Useful" to
> whom? If you use that notion then there you can't just social groups so
> easily, at least not on the basis of being compatible with human
> rights. What will you judge them by then?

I pointed out that a view of rights rooted in human nature can't deal
with non-human entities, therefore we need a broader-based system.

I think the onus is on you to demonstrate how a natural rights viewpoint
can extend to situations where the participants are non-human.

And why are you insisting on judging other people by some objective
criterion? Can't you just admit that your own views of their behaviour
are subjective, and don't have any intrinsic merit or demerit?

> Well, you haven't given a better paradigm yet nor has anyone else which
> is part of why the world is awash in a sea of cultural relativism.

You appear hostile to cultural relativism -- which, as far as I'm
concerned, is a vitally important viewpoint that needs to be nurtured
and cherished. (It's the best way of distinguishing fanatics from
people who you can negotiate with: the presence of relativism is an
indicator of flexibility.)

Why are you opposed to relativism?

-- Charlie

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