Common Preference

From: Josephine Smith (
Date: Tue Aug 15 2000 - 08:26:30 MDT

----- Original Message -----
From: Jason Joel Thompson <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2000 8:05 PM
Subject: Re: IP was: My Extropian Manifesto...

Monday, August 14, 2000 8:05 PM, Jason Joel Thompson wrote in reply to

> > Ever come across the idea of finding a *common preference*?
> >
> >
> >
> > J.Smith
> I'm not sure. Can you tell me more?

Sure :-)
The idea that it is both possible and preferable to find a common
preference, using a consent-based approach comes from Sarah Lawrence who
recently spoke at the World Libertarian Conference, ISIL 2000, in London,
Ontario, Canada, on the subject of Taking Children Seriously: The Final
Phase of the Enlightenment.

"A common preference is a solution to a problem, or resolution of a
disagreement, that all parties prefer to their prima facie positions, and to
all other candidate solutions they can think of. It is the solution that
pleases everyone involved in the disagreement.

Some people claim that finding common preferences is not possible in the
real world. What makes it possible is the joint creativity of the parties
involved applied to the specific problem. The only approach that works is to
seek a better solution that both parties agree is better than their initial
ideas. If either party is only willing to hold on to their original theory,
the theory is *entrenched* and the problem-solving process cannot be

A basic principle held by people who try to find a common preference
rather than defaulting to a *might makes right* stance, is that autonomy is
extremely important and worthy of respect.

Existing forms of relationships, such as employer-employee, husband-wife,
parent-child, involve promises not to develop in certain ways. Moreover,
they involve a promise to interact with each other according to a certain
fixed pattern which has certain fixed roles in it, and not to deviate from
those roles.

*Autonomy* refers to the psychological state of being free of intractable
internal conflicts, of acting from one's own intrinsic motivations rather
than extrinsic ones. An autonomous person is a free-thinker, one who is not
hobbled by fixed roles and other coercion-inducing obligations and

In an *autonomy-respecting-relationship* people don't promise or expect to
fulfil a predetermined role for the duration of the relationship, but
instead expect to be able to get along with each other in such a way that
each party is trying to make the other have the best possible life.

.........So, there you go!


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:36:01 MDT