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  1. #11
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Okay, I have a hypothetical scenario for you all. Imagine that science proved conclusively, and demonstratably, that a particular group of people were mentally inferior to the others, or had less capacity for restraint, or anything else that makes them less suitable as members of society.
    I believe there is a problem with the premise of this scenario. Science cannot judge what makes someone a suitable member of society. Science can create metrics and measure them, such as IQ, empathy level, ability to delay gratification, thumb size, skin pigmentation, etc.... However when it comes to judging how these qualities make a person suitable as members of society that question ends up being answered by law, religion, and philosophy rather than science.

    If you look back through history you will be able to find examples where scientists were saying that people were less suitable members of society because of their skin color. While skin pigmentation is objectively measurable, we can look back at these examples and see that bad science was being performed.
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  2. #12
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    They too have the ability to emphatize, formulate ideas and provide warmth as well as any human. An android well.. that would be different and considering on their type. If they could emphasize like a normal biological being and determine its own future then yeah by all means it should be treated as a human. If it is unable and can only carry out logical commands thats its builder has told them to do, what separates it from a computer?
    Aha! So the definition of being human is the ability to empathize, formulate ideas, and provide warmth.

    Could this imply that people who are lacking in creativity and the capacity for empathy (like sociopaths and narcissists) are less human? I like that idea... it sounds so much better than all that stuff about only people who measure up to a certain standard of rationality and self-control being human, which I hear so much of.

  3. #13
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Default Equality and Religion

    The doctrine of Equality is simply based on religion.

    For instance, Christianity teaches that we are all children of God and so we are all equal in the eyes of God.

    Let me repeat that - Christianity says, we are all equal in the eyes of God. And this has been encoded into the Common Law where all, repeat all, are equal before the Law.

    On the other hand, Islam teaches that Allah has divided us into Muslim men, Dhimmi, Infidels and Muslim women. And Allah says that Muslim men are to rule over Dhimmi, Infidels and Muslim women. And this inequality has been encoded in Sharia Law where Muslims, Dhimmi, Infidels and Muslim women, are not equal.

    But the equality of all taught by Christianity has been taken further by the Enlightenment into Reason. So the Enlightenment reinforces Christianity by teaching Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

    So equality comes from religion and is reinforced by the Enlightenment but is violently rejected by Islam.

  4. #14
    AKA Nunki Polaris's Avatar
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    It's hard to understand what people even mean by "equality." Someone's rights are determined by what preconditions they meet, and this has always been the case. These preconditions have changed--for example, we no longer require a voter to be a male--but the fact that we make differences has remained the same, and it always will. All you have to do is acknowledge someone as a separate individual, and you've already made them less than equal; from there, all sorts of differentiations follow.

    The one sense in which I can understand universal equality is in the sense that the law regards people as blank tablets when they come into the world. For example, the law no longer compels a person to enter a particular mode of life based on their parentage. But there are still some things you come into the world with, and the law takes stock of them. Your gender, for example, which has many subtle and not-so-subtle effects on your subsequent life. These effects don't immediately come into play, of course, but you've still been marked, right from the start.

    As to the question of whether these things are moral or practical, I would say they're both: if we regard something as moral, it's also practical in some sense. It could be practical on the level of promoting some type of social progress, and it could be practical on the level of easing your own conscience. Whatever the case, there is always a practical need involved, and to feel this need and take measures to fulfill it, requires a value judgment.
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  5. #15
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I guess this means self-awareness/sentience isn't important... just humanity. So an alien or android with similar faculties (or even superior faculties) would NOT be equal.

    Sigh. I just don't like the way this is going... it sounds like so many of our ways of doing things are based on delusions about our own significance.
    Nothing about significance. It has more to do with reciprocality. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. With humans, you know that in general, they respond the same way to treatment that you yourself do. You know that there are hidden things about yourself that are unrevealed to others. How would you like those people acting oppressively toward you because they thought you inferior?

  6. #16
    Senior Member Shimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Okay, I have a hypothetical scenario for you all. Imagine that science proved conclusively, and demonstratably, that a particular group of people were mentally inferior to the others, or had less capacity for restraint, or anything else that makes them less suitable as members of society.

    If this happened, would we still have a moral basis for treating them as equals rather than as inferior? Or is this treatment rooted in the assumption of practical equality in terms of cognition, potential, and self-control?

    Basically, are there any moral arguments that can be used to justify equal treatment in the absence of actual equality in capacity? If so, what are they?

    Can the science be separated from the moral issue? It seems that one would affect the other, unless I'm mistaken about the basis of equality being an assumption of certain similar abilities in cognition, potential, and self-control.

    Ultimately, it comes down to this... what rights would be owed to such beings, if we found that such actually existed and could easily be distinguished from everyone else? Would this ultimately be a similar issue to animal rights?
    I think it is possible to separate the moral from the practical part. It is biologically determined that men, on average, are physically stronger then women, and this differs quite a lot. Following that, it would seem rather logical to me that it is 'better' to put men in physically demanding jobs. In a society where most of the work is rather physically demanding, like in relatively primitive agricultural societies, It would follow that inequality is natural and beneficial.

    This is something entire different from inequity, which would seem to raise only moral questions.

    There are even some racial/biological biases that can be confirmed scientifically. Vietnamese on average are significantly worse in Basketball, then say, the Dutch, average hight of a vietnamese man: 162.1 cm (5' 3.8"), average hight of a dutchman: 184.3 cm (6' 0.6"). If I were a basketball coach looking for quality players, I would most certainly take these numbers into account.
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  7. #17
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Equally valued ? equally valuable to all.

    Subjective - Objective.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  8. #18
    Senior Member run's Avatar
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    First off, this sounds very Ti. Nice job.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Okay, I have a hypothetical scenario for you all. Imagine that science proved conclusively, and demonstratably, that a particular group of people were mentally inferior to the others, or had less capacity for restraint, or anything else that makes them less suitable as members of society.

    If this happened, would we still have a moral basis for treating them as equals rather than as inferior? Or is this treatment rooted in the assumption of practical equality in terms of cognition, potential, and self-control?
    No, it's not practicality. Then we'd have to judge. The judgment of such things isn't in our hands. It's objective. Therefore, unconditional equality. Let's make the distinction between legal equality and moral equality. There shouldn't be one. But we as a society make it happen because we don't legislate morality. We legislate practicality. That's despotism.
    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Basically, are there any moral arguments that can be used to justify equal treatment in the absence of actual equality in capacity? If so, what are they?
    No. You have to prove to me that capacity determines rights first.
    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Can the science be separated from the moral issue? It seems that one would affect the other, unless I'm mistaken about the basis of equality being an assumption of certain similar abilities in cognition, potential, and self-control.
    No. It'd be more intellectually robust to compatibilize them than to make polar generalizations. I don't think science is separated from morality when you say "capacity does not determine status." You could think of scientific reasons to support this, like "they're not sentient beings" or whatever. Who says science can't discover some moral things? Is science necessary? No not at all. I think it can be used though to help support some claims. Could be wrong about that though. Have to think about it.

  9. #19
    Senior Member run's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    It seems that you're avoiding the question by pointing to their "humanity." But how is it that their humanity alone makes them equal, without regard to their abilities or self-awareness? What is the origin of this concept, and how does it practically apply?
    What is the origin of this concept? Do you have to wonder? If you look for support for every single premise, you won't find it, and you'll end up with all seemingly circular arguments. Premises are meant to be assumed. You can't assume the value of humanity? Simply because it's not supported?? Why do you need support for that? Would you go kill someone if it was expedient, then ask for support why it's wrong? No. A, you won't let yourself do that for a reason. B, No one has the support for that. Moral intuitions.

  10. #20

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    Conservatives have been with us for a long time.

    Just kidding.

    I think that rights and privileges havent ever been based upon innate capacities, whatever those innate capacities are assessed as.

    Cognitive capacity, the different criteria you mention, they all seem fine and they are far removed from what has been the popular or personal determinants of superiority-inferiority before now like race, in group/out group status.

    A moral argument could be make for equality on the basis of the individuals with greater capacity being changed by the expectation or evaluative criteria of equality, I dont mean dumbing down, I mean reciprocal obligations, social cohesion or solidarity.

    However there are questions about the expectations for a degree of functionality from those with diminished capacities. Most recently I've thought about this in respect of the wholesale abandonment and shunning of behaviourist practice and principle in therapy or therapeutic environments which deal with individuals who have developmental deficits or diminished capacity.

    While I understand where the flexible, caring and supportive approaches are adopted in the main for ethical reasons. However, I wonder if those ethical reasons are grounded in the generalisation of the experience and capacities of individuals who are as different from those towards which a service is being offered as apples and oranges.

    To be honest I think that there hasnt ever been an egalitarian society, certainly not in the sense of a uniform expectation and consequences, and I think it could be horrifying, not for the conventional conservative or capitalist critique but for the kind of result that complete eradication of paternalism in all its forms could have.

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