Re: meaning of life (RE: (repost) RE: GUNS: Re: Self Defense)

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 21:40:26 MST

denis bider wrote:
> Samantha Atkins writes:
> > Is the nature of human being negotiated and conditional or is
> > the nature of human beings a given? If it is a given then it
> > just might imply that certain rights, certain fundamentals of
> > how people treat one another, are fundamental to the well-being
> > of human beings based on their nature. Yes?
> In theory, I might agree. In practice, I would not. [Meaning: it seems a far
> stretch to me.]
> First of all, I don't subscribe to the idea that we are in any way all the
> same, hence I dislike the claim that the nature of human beings is a given.
> If this were true, it would imply that all people want to be treated the
> same, in all respects. I don't subscribe to that. That is point #1.

I never ever said we are all the same nor implied it except that we all
share being human beings and therefore have everything in common that is
subsumed by that term. The gist of my questions above is that by the
very fact of existing at all we as human beings exist as something,
exist with certain properties. I would be quite surprised if the
commonalities of our humanness did not imply that there are basic ways
that we can be treated that are relatively much more advantageous to our
success and wellbeing than other ways we can be treated. This is
nothing terribly complex and certainly does not imply that we all wish
to be treated exactly the same in ALL respects. That is an unwarranted

> But let's assume that the nature of human beings is a given: all people want
> to be treated the same, in all respects. How do we then extrapolate human
> rights (R) from your definition? Why, we take the 'given nature' (N) of
> human beings (H), we take the environment into which these beings are placed

You are assuming a straw-man that has nothing to do with what I wrote.
Your formula has very little to do with what I said either as it does
not even specify what being satisfied consists of or what suffering is
or even begin to address the nature of human beings. It is totally

Your (E) does not cleanly separate out the givens of nature (not all of
which are in (N)) from human institutions which are not givens but part
of what needs be determined based upon (N). This muddies things up
nicely. Mars and other extreme environments are irrelevant. You must
follow strict rules on earth not to come to an untimely in also. This
does not imply that the rights of humans are any different at all
though. Rules are not the same as (E) except for natural facts such as
being unable to survive on a diet of cyanide. Rules imposed by a
society are another matter entirely. Your #3 does not hold and
therefore your #4 is also pointless.

N does not have to be defined with absolute scientific rigor to managed
to avoid denying the obvious.

Nice strawman.

- samantha

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