Sunday, May 26, 2013

Stolen Concept Fallacy

Stolen concept fallacy 

I'm beginning to notice, that every time I encounter reference to the "fallacy of the stolen concept", I find in the justification of the supposed fallacy, a certain amount of the fallacious use of circular-reasoning/begging-the-question at play and I wonder if anyone else as identified this phenomenon.

The "stolen concept fallacy" usually requires a particular definition to be asserted by the one supposedly identifying a "stolen concept" argument (fallacious appeal to a false dilemma?) and then uses the particular definition as proof of the meaningfulness of the definition; creating a situation in which a proposition is non-falsifiable by definition(?) .

I'm listening to Pekoff? lecture where he says (paraphrase), "it is not necessary to refute the [deniers of objectivism] for to deny objectivism, one must concede that they are making an objective statement about reality." 

If someone were to agree that "A is A" is a logically valid form, does not necessarily (non-sequitur) follow that any term substituted for "A" is meaningful and/or coherent; for instance, "Brtpwtop is Brtpwtop" or "Jabberwocky is Jabberwocky" may be logically valid but are not necessarily sound in that the terms lack sufficient definitional coherence to be meaningful (meaningless) but if the definition provided claims to take the form of, "The definition of 'A' is 'A'" then how is this avoid critique of begging the question?

Just because a person denies a particular theory of language, does not necessitate that they have "stolen the concept of language"; just because a particular formulation of logic/reality is denied, does this necessitate that all possible theories are denied? To claim this, one would have to argue that their concept/theory is the only possible concept/theory (false dilemma), but if the proof consists of a proof by definition, then why is this definition the only possible definition that can be used?

I think that the "property is theft" is a good example of how the "stolen concept" identification possibly uses some fallacies of it's own, especially because this is one of the classic/quintessential examples of the supposed "stolen concept"...

I believe that the statement, "property is theft" originates with Proudhon, who is arguing for an alternate theory/definition of "property" in which he uses an alternate term "possession" to describe legitimate-use (what you or I might ordinary describe as "property". Proudhon is essentially criticizing the property theory of Locke, essentially arguing that the "mixing of labor" with "unowned" objects/material "in a state of nature" does not confer absolute control over every aspect of the materials surrounding the transformation but only to the use/transformation itself. In Proudhon's view, Lockean "property" is arbitrarily expansive, conferring an assignment of "property" in excess of what is justified by reason (the use/transformation only) and thereby creates claims of the legitimacy of the use of violence to "defend" beyond the actual use/transformation, in effect, to arbitrarily/unnecessarily exclude persons of use of objects that are not directly in-use/transformed. Perhaps we could translate Proudhon's "Property is theft" to mean, "Lockean property theory permits/legitimizes persons to make arbitrary claims to the ownership of materials that they have not put into use nor transformed; Lockean property theory advocates the arbitrary-exclusion/'theft' of objects/material from potential 'homesteads'/'transformers'".

I might disagree with Proudhon, but i would not agree that he has not "stolen" the concept of "property"; Proudhon has not contradicted himself, because he has contradicted my theory/definition; he has rather offered an alternate theory (it may be an inferior theory but that's another argument entirely). In order to say that that Proudhon has "stolen the concept", I must first assume that my definition of "property" is the only definition possible, thereby every denial of my definition, must by my definition, use my definition in order to refute my definition (begging-the-question/circular-reasoning and false dilemma). This is perhaps why "stolen concept" is an alleged fallacy that has been introduced by the objectivists but that it has not gained traction outside of that community as an identified fallacy.

I invite your thoughts.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Making the old system obsolete

(In response to Cantwell's recent video title, before I got to watch the video)

Making the old system obsolete

I would like to recognize, that the current system/paradigm  meets certain needs for most people; needs for security (kinda; for most people, the metaphorical electric fence is protective, rather than restrictive), needs for predictability/order/consistency (easier economic calculation & lots of past personal investment in the current system), needs for a sense of belonging/community (though it is something of a tribal "us" vs. "them" belonging/community).

The needs met by the current system/paradigm, are met (tragically) at the expense of meeting other needs, like autonomy (liberty), integrity (honesty) and peace (non-violence).

In order to make the current system obsolete, it may be necessary to *demonstrate* (not necessarily, "persuade") a superior model/paradigm; superior in that it demonstrably meets needs in a better/greater way.

Therefore, I reason the concentration of my energies are best directed at the actionable strategies that are consistent (implied) by the principles/ideas/theory/philosophy {this is where people like Molynuex provide a valuable service; they serve as lens focusing the ideas/theory towards greater development; Molyneux's greatest contribution, may be as a light drawing liberty-moths to his online community}.

Why we might be so often frustrated, what we lack, is the answers to the question, "ok, so what do we do now that we understand the logical-elegance of this new paradigm?" (greater meaning-needs met)

Peaceful/non-violent parenting is a wonderful actionable strategy for furthering autonomy/empathy/symbiosis as a paradigm.

Extending the potential of the peacefulness of parenting, to all social interactions maybe the next step of applying autonomy/empathy/symbiosis principles/theory/values.  "Non-violent Communication" (NVC) offers potent strategies/tools for connecting empathically with all the individuals with which we might interact.

Then there are more solid applications... The more I can reduce my autonomy-leakage, the greater I can meet my need for full-pressure autonomy; I can stop the leaks where I am taxed the most, I can find ways to live on less income, I can use crypto-currencies, I can discover ways to construct inexpensive and energy efficient housing, I can avoid interactions with the banking/financial system do to their emeshment with institutions of domination (govt & central banking).  The results of these action-items, these actionable-liberties, is that I work less, with more free time to enjoy my life, with less debt, and a higher standard of living than perhaps many people having double my income.  

When liberty-theory/autonomy-values are *applied* in *demonstration* of their superiority, then people may abandon the current system for something they can clearly *see* is better for their own life (and the younger they are, the less invested in the current system, the more likely that a change of paradigm will be appealing).

When I attempt to persuade without demonstration, I can be perceived/received as threatening current needs meeting without proof of future needs-meeting; when we demonstrate, the people that emulate our actions do not even need to understand the theory/value behind/justifying the action; they only need understand that they will be happier/greater-needs-meeting-potential by abandoning the old system and embracing a new model/paradigm.