Whether any moral consequences flow from it depends upon the moral theory you adopt. If that theory prohibits breaking plates, then the fact that you broke it would have moral import.Wossname wrote: ↑August 1st, 2020, 7:09 am
Let me start with something I think we agree on. If I am holding a plate then I may move or smash it regardless of how I came by it. You can empirically determine whether or not I am holding the plate. But if no moral consequences flow from this bare fact then what use is this knowledge for any moral theory?
Taking something to which someone has a right --- which means he acquired it without inflicting loss or injury --- has moral import only if the moral theory you adopt prohibits inflicting losses and injuries (which it will, if the axiom of that theory mandates maximizing welfare for all agents).
Ownership is an issue --- you become the owner of that (previously) unowned plate by taking possession of it. You may then do as you wish with it, subject to the "do no harm" proviso, i.e., you may not smash the plate if the flying shards will injure someone.It seems to me that any legal or moral consequences in the normal way of things (I know) are linked to the matter of who owns, rather than who is holding, the plate. I am not sure if you agree with this or not but I think you do. You say what matters is how the thing was acquired (it should be a righteous acquisition) and clearly stealing or theft involves inflicting a loss on the rightful owner (not righteous). I think you wish to go further and say that if there is a plate that nobody owns (ownership is not therefore an issue), and if it would cause no harm, you are free to smash it if you wish. Do I have that right?
Yes indeed.Now we may say that you are alive and have the ability to move or smash your body if you wish.
I think we covered that. This "representative's" claims are not self-evident (which is required of axioms) and there is no evidence supporting them. Hence they are baseless and can be dismissed.If your body is a vessel that holds your immortal soul, and these things belong to God and by extension His representative, then His representative has claim and demands that though you can factually move or smash he alone has the right to move or smash you and you should, morally, honour that claim. If so what does your right to life amount to?
I agree --- "absent an axiom" (and a moral theory derived from it).So I still believe that absent an axiom, simple statements about what can be seen are morally vacuous.
You're still not getting it. That Alfie gained possession of his life without inflicting harms on anyone is the sufficient condition for his having a right to his life, per the definition of a "right," just as his having a sibling with a son or daughter is the sufficient condition for his being an "uncle," per the definition of that word. His having that right, however, has no moral significance in the absence of a moral theory.. . . and the fact that Alfie is alive in itself confers no rights on Alfie whether or not he has harmed anyone.