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On the "rights" of Nature

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Greta
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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Greta » May 19th, 2019, 3:32 am

GE Morton wrote:
May 18th, 2019, 11:30 pm
Well, then you've apparently ignored the arguments in the OP. A "right" is a property applicable only to moral agents.
Like corporations, to which you wished to confer such rights.

Yet you quibble about attempts to alleviate the damage inflicted on poor old nature, now half dead, increasingly desertified, with daily extinctions and and overheated atmosphere. Who cares what mechanism is used if helps us operate in a more sustainable, far-reaching manner? Rights, regulations, whatever.

This, like all of your choices of quibbles, is selective - always an attack on what you perceive as "left". It would be nice to see a forum free of such game playing.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Sculptor1 » May 19th, 2019, 5:44 am

Mr Morton seems to be using an empty definition of "rights" to deny people who care about the natural environment (NE) who wish to preserve it.
It is obvious to anyone that the the greatest body to which rights might apply is the entire human race, whose continued existence and happiness on planet earth depends on the protection of the natural environment.
In giving corporate interests over the NE to the detriment of humanity Morton denies the entire race its future.

If humans who wish to preserve the NE has moral agents then it is pretty obvious that in the continued destruction of the NE those humans, and humanity in general are being side-stepped in favour of profit and destruction.

On both deontological grounds and utilitarian grounds the preservation of the NE is vital to humanity. Giving rights to animals makes as much sense as giving rights to humans.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 19th, 2019, 12:37 pm

Greta wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 3:20 am

You have never once, attempted to be objective. You seem rather proud of your role as a propagandist, and pointing out your weasel words is not an ad hom . . .
Sorry, Greta, but it is. An ad hominem response is an attack on the speaker, rather than upon his argument. That is precisely what the above quote is. Rather than addressing the arguments (such as that groups of humans have whatever rights their members have) and answering the questions asked (such as what you count as a "fair share"), you comment on my "pride," my "role," and my "weasel words."

"Ad Hominem (Attacking the person): This fallacy occurs when, instead of addressing someone's argument or position, you irrelevantly attack the person or some aspect of the person who is making the argument."

https://www.txstate.edu/philosophy/reso ... minem.html
36% of multinats not paying ANY tax in Australia - is not paying a fair share for starters.
See response to Felix above for the problems with income taxes.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 19th, 2019, 1:00 pm

Greta wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 3:32 am

Like corporations, to which you wished to confer such rights.
*Sigh*. No, I don't "wish to confer" rights on corporations. Real rights are not "conferrable." Whether someone has one is a matter of fact, and does not depend upon anyone's actions or judgments or opinions. Corporations have rights because they are nothing but their members, all of whom have rights. If the members of a group have rights, then so does the group --- because the group and its members are one and the same.
Who cares what mechanism is used if helps us operate in a more sustainable, far-reaching manner?
Philosophers and persons who consider themselves political liberals should care. The notion that we can "confer" rights on Nature, corporations, or anything else transforms that concept from an objective moral property immune to populist fads and political manipulation to an arbitrary one, embracing anything and applicable to anything some despot decrees. It robs the concept of all moral authority.
This, like all of your choices of quibbles, is selective - always an attack on what you perceive as "left". It would be nice to see a forum free of such game playing.
I assure you that if any "righties" participated in this forum their views would get their share of scrutiny.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by h_k_s » May 19th, 2019, 3:09 pm

GE Morton wrote:
May 18th, 2019, 11:30 pm
h_k_s wrote:
May 18th, 2019, 11:31 am

I believe that Nature derives all its rights from the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and the rest of science.
Well, then you've apparently ignored the arguments in the OP. A "right" is a property applicable only to moral agents. Applying it to other things is a category mistake, like applying color words to numbers or flavor words to geometric figures.
In the meantime we do need government regulation to make sure businesses and industries clean up their pollution. That is because their pollution can harm us people on the face of Nature.
I agree we need to protect the environment (but not because Nature has "rights").
Economically speaking, pollution is a cost that if not borne by the polluters themselves becomes borne by the rest of society. And then the polluters profits become ill gotten gains.
The cost will be borne by the rest of society in any case. The costs to businesses to reduce pollution will be passed on to consumers in higher prices. But the health benefits may be worth that cost (though sometimes they may not).
I have refuted, not ignored, the assertions of the O/P.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Felix » May 19th, 2019, 5:24 pm

It has become obvious that GE Morton will refuse to acknowledge any of the many facts that discredit his position; such as biological exigencies, the increasingly monopolistic nature of modern corporations, the wide and ever-widening income disparity between the very rich and the working class, the dismantling of worker unions and labor rights, etc., etc. As a result, this thread is headed to ad nauseum.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Greta » May 19th, 2019, 5:53 pm

GE's threads are always like this, Felix.
GE Morton wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 1:00 pm
Greta wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 3:32 am

Like corporations, to which you wished to confer such rights.
*Sigh*. No, I don't "wish to confer" rights on corporations. Real rights are not "conferrable." Whether someone has one is a matter of fact, and does not depend upon anyone's actions or judgments or opinions. Corporations have rights because they are nothing but their members, all of whom have rights. If the members of a group have rights, then so does the group --- because the group and its members are one and the same.
Look at that theatrical sigh. You have quite a range of rhetorical games, don't you? They are fun to use until you realise they are worthless.

BTW, you are 100% wrong and made a newbie error. Humans in the corporations already have rights. You are double-dipping human rights - again.

Try Logic. Corporations have rights because they created those rights and demanded them. Full stop. Why? Because they could.

If these abstract non-human bodies were as vulnerable as animals, unable to force their own rights, then they would have precious few. As things stand , very many are allowed to avoid contributing properly to the tax burden.

GE Morton wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 1:00 pm
Who cares what mechanism is used if helps us operate in a more sustainable, far-reaching manner?
Philosophers and persons who consider themselves political liberals should care. The notion that we can "confer" rights on Nature, corporations, or anything else transforms that concept from an objective moral property immune to populist fads and political manipulation to an arbitrary one, embracing anything and applicable to anything some despot decrees. It robs the concept of all moral authority.
Given that you are entirely political and not at all philosophical, and most certainly not politically liberal, why should you care?

Moral authority is (aside from being an utter, utter wank) is a luxury item when important irreplaceable natural systems are being rapidly being turned into desert.

GE Morton wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 1:00 pm
This, like all of your choices of quibbles, is selective - always an attack on what you perceive as "left". It would be nice to see a forum free of such game playing.
I assure you that if any "righties" participated in this forum their views would get their share of scrutiny.
Not much keen on assurances, especially with your partisan hard right wing track record. When I see you challenge one right wing concept, that will be a start. However, to demonstrate fairness, you'll need to challenge a lot more than just one far right notion and stop defending the indefensible (eg. corporate tax avoidance).

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 19th, 2019, 8:02 pm

h_k_s wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 3:09 pm

I have refuted, not ignored, the assertions of the O/P.
I must have missed that. Can you give the link to that refutation, or reprise it?

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 19th, 2019, 8:21 pm

Felix wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 5:24 pm
It has become obvious that GE Morton will refuse to acknowledge any of the many facts that discredit his position; such as biological exigencies, the increasingly monopolistic nature of modern corporations, the wide and ever-widening income disparity between the very rich and the working class, the dismantling of worker unions and labor rights, etc., etc. As a result, this thread is headed to ad nauseum.
It is interesting that you use the term "discredit," rather than "refute." It is obvious that no biological exigencies, monopolistic natures, income disparities, or dismantling of unions have the slightest thing to do with 1) whether natural phenomena can have rights, or 2) whether corporations are people (and thus have rights). You wish to affirm the former and deny the latter, not because they do or do not satisfy the definitions of the key terms or the truth conditions of those propositions, but because you are fond of "nature" and abhor corporations. But things do not acquire rights because we like them, or lose them because we don't. They are not honorifics bestowed upon favored entities. Our attitudes toward someone or something are irrelevant to what rights it he/she/it has.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 19th, 2019, 9:09 pm

Greta wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 5:53 pm

BTW, you are 100% wrong and made a newbie error. Humans in the corporations already have rights. You are double-dipping human rights - again.
Well, it's clear that you are determined not to even acknowledge, much less refute, the points made in several previous posts. There is no "double-dipping." To repeat: a corporation and its members are one and the same. The rights of the former are those of the latter, neither more nor less. There is only one set of rights, those of its members, which they may invoke or exercise individually or collectively. They don't lose their rights by organizing a group, giving it a name, and exercising them collectively.

That complaint of yours has been shown to be misconceived and groundless. If you disagree, please rebut that argument and stop robotically repeating the groundless complaint.
Given that you are entirely political and not at all philosophical, and most certainly not politically liberal, why should you care?
Oh, but I am. You probably don't know what a "liberal" is. Or rather, you assume the contemporary re-definition coined by the Left. Classically, a political "liberal" was an advocate of political freedom. Freedom from what? Well, freedom from State power, from government interference in people's lives, and infringements of their natural rights. The word "liberal" derives from the Latin liber, meaning "free". It is the same root as "liberty," "liberate," etc. But since leftists are anything but advocates of freedom, they have re-defined the term to denote advocacy of . . . State power!

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by h_k_s » May 20th, 2019, 7:28 am

GE Morton wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 8:02 pm
h_k_s wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 3:09 pm

I have refuted, not ignored, the assertions of the O/P.
I must have missed that. Can you give the link to that refutation, or reprise it?
Yup @GE Morton you must have missed it.

Google "Occams Razor" for openers.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Felix » May 20th, 2019, 6:30 pm

GE Morton: "Corporations have rights because they are nothing but their members, all of whom have rights. If the members of a group have rights, then so does the group --- because the group and its members are one and the same."

The point is, your arguments are disingenuous because they are mere abstractions. In actual practice, the rights of a corporation are not equivalent to the rights of it's individual members, the group and its members are not at all "one and the same" as you said. As a corporation grows in size, so may it's active rights and the amount of economic and political influence it wields. This is obvious to anyone who is not a political ideologue.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 20th, 2019, 7:05 pm

Felix wrote:
May 20th, 2019, 6:30 pm

The point is, your arguments are disingenuous because they are mere abstractions. In actual practice, the rights of a corporation are not equivalent to the rights of it's individual members, the group and its members are not at all "one and the same" as you said. As a corporation grows in size, so may it's active rights and the amount of economic and political influence it wields. This is obvious to anyone who is not a political ideologue.
Well, I have no idea what you mean by "active rights." Every right is "active" (if you wish to so describe it) when invoked, exercised, or honored by third parties. Please explain what you mean. Are some rights "inactive"? And perhaps you can also explain in what sense a corporation's rights "grow" with the size of the organization. Do you mean it acquires new rights as it grows? What rights are those?

Methinks you may be confusing rights with powers, capacities, abilities (to pursue one's interests or achieve one's goals). Rights have nothing to do with those, or with political influence. A corporation has (say) the right of free speech (because its stockholders all have that right, and the corporation is nothing but them). But that right is the same for a corporation with 10 investors worth $1 million, and one with 10,000 investors and worth $100 billion. It does not change a whit with growth. The larger corporation may have more capacity to speak, but it has no greater right to speak.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Felix » May 20th, 2019, 8:30 pm

GE Morton: "And perhaps you can also explain in what sense a corporation's rights "grow" with the size of the organization. Do you mean it acquires new rights as it grows? What rights are those?"

As I said, it's capacity for political and economic influence grows, so its rights have grown in the sense that they possess a greater force of action.

GE Morton: "A corporation has (say) the right of free speech (because its stockholders all have that right, and the corporation is nothing but them). But that right is the same for a corporation with 10 investors worth $1 million, and one with 10,000 investors and worth $100 billion. It does not change a whit with growth."

The practical effect of it's speech does increase, especially when laws such as the Citizens United law are enacted, which equates money - monetary spending - with free speech.

Again, you are speaking of rights in the abstract sense while I am speaking of their practical operation in the real world, which can and usually does vary greatly from your academic depiction of it. If you can't distinguish betwen the two, further conversation with you on the subject is futile.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 20th, 2019, 9:37 pm

Felix wrote:
May 20th, 2019, 8:30 pm

As I said, it's capacity for political and economic influence grows, so its rights have grown in the sense that they possess a greater force of action.
Well, that is not a "sense" of the growth of rights. It is, as I suggested earlier, a confusion of rights with powers. Having a right to speak does not imply having the ability to speak, or to speak effectively. A "right" is a moral pseudo-property; it only means you rightfully possess x (a property right), or may rightfully do y (a liberty right). Which in turn means that your acquisition of x harmed no one, or your doing y harms no one, and therefore that no one may morally interfere with your possession of x or your doing y (as long as you continue to harm no one). One's ability to speak or speak effectively may well grow, but the right to do so does not change.
The practical effect of it's speech does increase, especially when laws such as the Citizens United law are enacted, which equates money - monetary spending - with free speech.
That's true. The practical effect of speech varies with the speaker, for all speakers. Some are more articulate, more eloquent, more persuasive, or just louder than others. The CU decision was based on the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech. It does not guarantee "equal speech." Free speech means every speaker may speak as often and loudly as he wants, to anyone willing to listen. It takes no account of the abilities of different speakers to speak effectively or persuasively.

Money does not equal speech, but it is necessary for virtually all speech directed to persons not in the same room with you. Merely sending a personal letter requires purchase of a postage stamp; speaking to someone on the telephone requires an account with a carrier. Printing newsletters, buying radio or television or newspaper ads, renting an auditorium all cost money. So restrictions on the amount of money that can be spent on speech are burdens on speech; it hobbles the free exercise of that right.
Again, you are speaking of rights in the abstract sense while I am speaking of their practical operation in the real world, which can and usually does vary greatly from your academic depiction of it. If you can't distinguish betwen the two, further conversation with you on the subject is futile.
The "practical operation of rights in the real world" differs for every right of every agent. That is because agents are not equal, in any material way. Some are healthier, stronger, more beautiful, more talented, more creative, more intelligent, more ambitious, more diligent or driven than others. Not to mention that they all have differing interests and goals. So the "practical operation" of their respective rights will differ as well. As long as their exercise harms no one those differences are morally irrelevant.

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