all 11 comments

[–]4210597 9 insightful - 1 fun9 insightful - 0 fun10 insightful - 1 fun -  (6 children)

His argument stripped down is:

(1) All cops agree to enforce all laws.

(2) Many of those laws are bad.


(3) Every cop enforces bad laws.


(4) Every cop is not good.

It's not a good argument. (1) seems plausible as being true at first, but then you realize that there exist cops that do not enforce some laws, e.g. crooked cops that might look the way other because they are on the take. People will say this supports Higgs' conclusion in (4), but it doesn't. Instead, it undermines his inference from (3) to (4). He wants to generate "badness" from support from bad laws; not from the existence of non-good cops (otherwise he'd be making a vacuous argument that non-good cops implies non-good cops). The falsity of (1) undermines the way he generates the existence of "no good cops". That's the first problem.

There are also a number of problems with (2). Firstly, it is unsupported. Which laws? Where are the supporting arguments that "many" of them are "unjust" and "wicked"? Secondly, he implicitly rules out non-bad laws. This could run the spectrum from good laws (not raping and torturing Dr. Higgs' family members) to neutral ones. Clearly these laws exist, since he says "many" laws and doesn't quantify over all of them. Given the laws are doing the generation of good and bad in (4), then this would imply the existence of neutral or good cops. In fact, this is a counterexample to the validity of his overall argument: the existence of non-bad cops.

There's also an un-argued part of his reasoning from (3) to (4). He shifts from attributing an evaluative property of laws to an evaluative property to cops. For this inference to work there must be some sort of suppressed moral principle between (3) and (4) such as "if someone enforces something bad, then that person is bad." It's pretty easy to generate a counter-example to this principle: someone enforcing something bad that happens to not be a bad person. History is filled with people that thought that they were good or even neutral (both individually, within their wider social circle/norms, and having what they thought to be theoretical justifications), and enforced extremely bad things, e.g. religious and political fanatics. As said above, one might spin this to support his argument; but it doesn't, since he's arguing about a structural mechanism that attributes badness of a group from badness of law.

[–]Tom_Bombadil 3 insightful - 2 fun3 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 2 fun -  (4 children)

You argument assumes the "bad cop" is also a "bad person".

He didn't say anything about the character of the individual.

Do you dispute the idea that the existing system coerces any well-intentioned people into performing amoral acts?

[–]4210597 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

You argument assumes the "bad cop" is also a "bad person".

Which part of my argument assumes it? Firstly, you're confusing my argument for something it isn't. It's a re-construction of a part of Higgs' argument that he doesn't make clear (with a corresponding explanation why: the jump from evaluative properties of laws to evaluative properties of cops). That's the opposite of an assumption, which is something asserted without support. Secondly, the "assumption" is made for a specific suppressed premise of his argument in the final paragraph of my post. So it is neither holding for my entire response nor am I saying that is my assumption. I'm saying he needs something like that moral principle ("if someone enforces something bad, then that person is bad") to make the inference from (3) to (4) to work.

The reason he needs something stronger in the form of "person" is because moral principles are generalizations and standards of behavior. They hold over all moral beings as well as being standards for human actions and judgment. Cops are a subset of the category "person" and the argument made in the OP is about high level moral generalizations like good and bad. The terms "someone," "something," and "person" in the suppressed moral principle are also acting like variables that generate his conclusion. To replace "person" with "cop" in the moral principle ("if a cop enforces something bad, then that cop is bad") would be to:

(i) weaken the scope of what the principle applies to (thus not making it a principle at all, since it is non-universal and contextualized to cops and certain laws. This means the argument is still unsupported),

(ii) weaken the evaluative force for judgment (goodness and badness is more universal than the law. Even by his own standards he deems the norms of law are outweighed by moral norms),

(iii) jettison cops from being morally responsible beings (as that is a major way a "person" is conceived of in moral literature), and;

(iv) be a vacuous argument since it is just re-asserts what his entire argument is already saying (cops are enforcing something bad; therefore, they are bad. Which again is an unwarranted leap without a generalized principle behind it).

If you don't think this is the case, then feel free to come up with a better support for the inference from (3) to (4) that doesn't lead into the problems of (i) to (iv).

He didn't say anything about the character of the individual.

What you interpret as a claim about the "character of the individual" is a counter-example to the suppressed moral principle ("if someone enforces something bad, then that person is bad"). It's set up as a conditional. Making the conditional's antecedent true (a person that enforces something bad) and the consequent false (a non-bad person) gives a possible counterexample, since it makes the overall conditional false. Generating a counter-example to this principle is fair game, since something like this principle underpins his entire argument. If you have a problem with the principle, feel free to come up with something better that turns Higgs' argument into a well-justified one.

Do you dispute the idea that the existing system coerces any well-intentioned people into performing amoral acts?

You're confusing the issue of counter-arguments with the issue of counter-considerations and refutations. The former attacks the arguments present, while the latter takes a counter-view on the issue itself. I'm disputing the mechanism by which Higgs' explains the state of affairs and pointing out his lack of support for both key premises (1) and (2), which you ignored, and the inference from (3) to (4). Are you saying I can't criticize his argument without staking out a position on the issue?

As to your question, please breakdown -- in your own words -- the properties within the "existing system" that enable the activity of "coercing" that further generates "any well-intentioned people into performing amoral acts." I want a full account of this causal chain from a vague "existing system" to the performance of amoral acts. I want to know all about the parts in the "system" and their organization that generate coercion. Then I want a causal and psychological account of how this coercion generates amoral acts in well-intentioned people. Should be simple for you to explain, since you seem to see it as self-evident.

[–]Tom_Bombadil 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

I'm not particularly interested in detangling your pseudo-philosophical breakdown.

Lawyers are generally detested, because they use their own set of amoral logical technicalities to justify amoral laws, or defend wealth againt just enforcement of the laws, etc.

Here's a fairly cut and dry example of the conflicting moral circumstances that policing places on police officers.

A) Legislation is passed banning the sale of lemonade, which includes sale by children.

B) Children sell lemonade at stands in from of their homes.

C) Police enforce the legislation prohibiting the sale of lemonade by children.

D) Police arrest the children who are selling lemonade.

The police enforcement of the law and the arrest of children in this scenario is amoral.

This scenerio actually happened last summer.

[–]4210597 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

I'm not particularly interested in detangling your pseudo-philosophical breakdown.

I doubt you are capable of "detangling" it in the first place. I always take this kind of comment as an indicator of someone who is out of his depth. If you had any actual philosophical depth to identify "pseudo-philosophy" (something you would need to identify fake philosophy in the first place), then you'd be able to do actual philosophy and contend with my post in a knock-down manner; which you clearly haven't done (and openly said you aren't even going to try). So this gives me pretty good evidence for doubting not just your philosophical knowledge, but also your ability to spot alleged "pseudo-philosophy" in the first place, thus undermining the force of your claim.

Additionally, there is more evidence to doubt your abilities: the concepts I'm using are common in ethics and meta-ethics (the attribution of values and what a principle is), metaphysics (the nature of persons and the attribution of properties), and logic (the breakdown of arguments to identify where they went wrong in their support and how they can do better). All these things are major philosophical topics. The problem is that you lack this knowledge, which I worked out from your original post (e.g. the confusion over what an assumption is, the inability to see what a re-constructed argument is, confusing counter-examples to claims with the original claims, mixing up general categories that are needed for principles). An experienced swimmer can spot someone who can't tread in deep water. This is why I tried to bait you into a satisfactory explanation for your bolded comment.

Lawyers are generally detested, because

This is not what I'm asking for as needing explaining (you need to explain how "the existing system coerces any well-intentioned people into performing amoral acts"). This is like a monkey screeching that there is a lion nearby. It's purely emotive signalling that has nothing to do with what I asked for and shows your motivations towards the issue.

Lawyers use their own set of amoral logical technicalities to ...

You're just re-stating the initial part of what Higgs is saying. There's no deeper explanation here. You've just shifted the initial conditions to lawyers and the law. You haven't even addressed the fundamental issue that I raised in my original post -- the jump from evaluative properties of laws to evaluative properties of cops -- and I doubt that you can or even want to, since you've tried to shift the latter part of Higgs' original claims about evaluative properties of cops to an argument about moral acts in the other post (these aren't the same thing; and again, you need some sort of moral principle to make that leap. Something you keep ignoring).

Also, I just noticed that you are using the term "amoral," while the OP picture is taking a clear stand on morality (good and bad). Amorality is the lack of morality (including badness). Higgs is clearly talking about morality and immorality. For a guy that seemed concerned at first with what others said about Higgs' claims (that you were wrong in your interpretation of), you sure don't seem to be concerned about the same behavior when you do it.

Here's a fairly cut and dry example ... This scenario ...

Examples and scenarios aren't explanations. They might exemplify, instantiate, or describe an issue; but again, you are not giving an explanation into the fundamental underlying components, organization, and causality that generates the large variety of examples or scenarios (including the one you've given). You're the one that made the generalized claim that, "the existing system coerces any well-intentioned people into performing amoral acts." Back it up with a generalized explanation that covers the system-level and its underlying mechanism, since that is what you originally implied was beyond dispute. Think real hard for a second why a normal person might take your example as "cut and dry" and how that may not be applied in a generalized moral sense to other parts of your systemic claim (protip: think about non-child examples and then compare both child and non-child examples. Why are they both bad?).

BTW, given that you keep being evasive with several issues, I'm done with this discussion.

[–]Tom_Bombadil 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Morality is straightforward concept.

Children understand the concept inherently.

People like yourself make great attempts to add complexity to straightforward concepts in order to manufacture confusion so it can be exploited to further their interests.

Creating confusion about basic principles is intellectually dishonest.

You may have fooled yourself into believing you are being clever.

However, I'm sure that you know that there are plenty of people who can't be mislead or manipulated by this sort of pseudo-technical nonsense. It's a joke.

[–]reebok300[S] 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

When a university professor is owned by a random guy on the internet, it really shows the fucked-up world we live in.😂

[–]DanielKO 6 insightful - 2 fun6 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 2 fun -  (1 child)

He's a "Libertarian Anarchist." He's dumber than a Marxist. He should be down in Seattle to witness his utopia happening in real time in CHAZ.

[–]Tom_Bombadil 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

You haven't disproven his logic.

Not all cops necessarily enforce unjust laws.

[–]comments 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

"subversive agent" or "subversive dupe"

[–]Elvis_Presley 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It's not that insane. This is the same libertarian argument against state-enforced police.

I say Blue Lives Matter but also would like to see the state monopoly on violence grumble away.