Isn\'t That a Consequential Argument?

John T. Kennedy explains why the highest values cannot be stolen, using Siddhartha as an example:

“No, Samana, I am not afraid of this. Did any Samana or Brahman ever fear, someone might come and grab him and steal his learning, and his religious devotion, and his depth of thought? No, for they are his very own, and he would only give away from those whatever he is willing to give and to whomever he is willing to give. Like this it is, precisely like this it is also with Kamala and with the pleasures of love. Beautiful and red is Kamala’s mouth, but just try to kiss it against Kamala’s will, and you will not obtain a single drop of sweetness from it, which knows how to give so many sweet things! You are learning easily, Siddhartha, thus you should also learn this: love can be obtained by begging, buying, receiving it as a gift, finding it in the street, but it cannot be stolen. In this, you have come up with the wrong path. No, it would be a pity, if a pretty young man like you would want to tackle it in such a wrong manner.”

We see that Siddhartha has two choices, force himself on Kamala or find a way to persuade Kamala to give willingly. The consequences of the first choice are that he "will not obtain a single drop of sweetness". The consequences of the second choice are for Kamala "to give so many sweet things".

Thus, Kennedy argues that one ought to respect rights because of the consequences.

Update: This is supposed to be a question, if that wasn't obvious from the title.

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There is something in most

There is something in most people that makes them want to live “rightly.” I suspect that this is an evolutionary mechanism to facilitate trust and cooperation, but the important thing is that it’s there.

It sounds like you might be giving up the game to the deontologists - if morality is “inside” of us in that way then it seems a short leap to positing universal natural rights, etc.

Just the opposite. If our moral intuitions are evolved mechanisms to facilitate cooperation, then our feelings of outrage, hope, and empathy, and our notions of fairness, independence, and equality are merely a material phenomenon. Nearly all libertarian natural rights-ers I've talked to believe that rights as something external to the person, something larger, something more objective than merely psychological drives. It's the very outsideness of this conception of natural rights that cause them to become enraged when other people's insideness doesn't meet their expectations.

Sure, cooperative impulses may have evolved, but so may have impulses to steal, murder, and rape. A non-negligible percent of the population are psychopaths. It's not an outlandish theory that psychopathy is an adapation marked by complete remorselessness that aided survival and the passing on of one's genes in the harsh environment of our forebears. Are the drives of psycopaths - predators, prudent or otherwise - also a source of universal natural rights? Does the empathy a stranger feels while reaching his hand out to rescue another person drowning in a tsunami have as equal weight as the lack of empathy felt by a psychopath when he cuts up a victim without remorse? If natural rights stem from something inside of us, are they more compatible with empathy or lack of empathy?

our notions of fairness,

our notions of fairness, independence, and equality are merely a material phenomenon.

I could be wrong, but I think most natural righters I've thought were worth listening to realized that morality, fairness, equality, etc were all "material" in the sense of being something that brains do. And it seems like a genetic fallacy to say that since morals evolved that somehow they aren't "real". The same could be said for personhood, feelings, etc.

As for the point about

As for the point about empathy, I'll admit that cruelty and rage may have occassionally been beneficial to the survival of primitive man, but I wouldn't go so far as to say being a psychopath is "adaptive" - if it were really so great, more people would be psychos.

And it seems like a genetic

And it seems like a genetic fallacy to say that since morals evolved that somehow they aren’t “real".

Labeling something "material" is calling it very "real".

You ignored my other question: when nature imbues different people with different, often conflicting, even opposing tendencies for social interaction, how do we determine which versions describe universal natural righs, and which don't?

As for the point about

As for the point about empathy, I’ll admit that cruelty and rage may have occassionally been beneficial to the survival of primitive man, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say being a psychopath is “adaptive” - if it were really so great, more people would be psychos.

The psychologist Robert Hare estimates that 1% of Canadians are clinical psychopaths, and that up to 20% of prison populations are psychopaths.

Just because traits don't become dominant in a population doesn't mean they don't aid in fitness. Psychopathy doesn't have to be "so great", merely "sometimes better" for it to be passed on.

I think I provided a

I think I provided a satisfactory answer - the tendencies you think stand in opposition to morals are minor compared to virtues like charity, justice, prudence, etc. Sure, people are sometimes cruel and vicious - people have free will, they can do all sorts of nasty and vicious things. But as David Friedman himself admits, people are pretty clearly virtuous most of the time. Further, much evil in the world can be attributed to religious conflict, government, tribalism, and other collectivist claptrap people have believed in since man has been around, and those are bad ideas, not bad genes.

What's Hare's definition of

What's Hare's definition of a psychopath?

I think I provided a

I think I provided a satisfactory answer - the tendencies you think stand in opposition to morals are minor compared to virtues like charity, justice, prudence, etc. Sure, people are sometimes cruel and vicious - people have free will, they can do all sorts of nasty and vicious things. But as David Friedman himself admits, people are pretty clearly virtuous most of the time.

You're saying that dominant biological tendencies should be labeled "universal natural rights". But this doesn't really answer why these dominant values - if they are indeed dominant - should be given that title. Why does dominance hold such a special place? Just because the most people have them, why should they win the trophy rather than those of the minority group? Does fewer numbers mean losing the game of the "correct" morals?

Further, much evil in the world can be attributed to religious conflict, government, tribalism, and other collectivist claptrap people have believed in since man has been around, and those are bad ideas, not bad genes.

The animal kingdom is vulgar in its brutality, yet animals don't have bad ideas, nor religion, nor government. Tribalism is how we evolved. Our ancestors have been hacking away at each other for millions of years. Violence and conflict are in our genes. And according to scientists like Pascal Boyer, religion is also in our genes: as agency detection in hyperdrive.

What’s Hare’s definition

What’s Hare’s definition of a psychopath?

http://www.hare.org/links/saturday.html

The research community, Hare realized, lacked a standard definition. "I found that we were all talking a different language, we were on different diagnostic pages, and I decided that we had to have some common instrument," he says. "The PCL-R was really designed to make it easier to publish articles and to let journal editors and reviewers know what I meant by psychopathy."

The Psychopathy Checklist consists of a set of forms and a manual that describes in detail how to score a subject in twenty categories that define psychopathy. Is he (or, more rarely, she) glib and superficially charming, callous and without empathy? Does he have a grandiose sense of self worth, shallow emotions, a lack of remorse or guilt? Is he impulsive, irresponsible, promiscuous? Did he have behavioural problems early in life? The information for each category must be carefully drawn from documents such as court transcripts, police reports, psychologists' reports, and victim-impact statements, and not solely from an interview, since psychopaths are superb liars ("pathological lying" and "conning/manipulative" are PCL-R categories). A prisoner may claim to love his family, for example, while his records show no visits or phone calls.

For each item, assessors -- psychologists or psychiatrists -- assign a score of zero (the item doesn't apply), one (the item applies in some respects), or two (the item applies in most respects). The maximum possible score is forty, and the boundary for clinical psychopathy hovers around thirty. Last year, the average score for all incarcerated male offenders in North America was 23.3. Hare guesses his own score would be about four or five.

In 1980, Hare's initial checklist began circulating in the research community, and it quickly became the standard. At last count nearly 500 papers and 150 doctoral dissertations had been based on it.

I guess I could only quibble

I guess I could only quibble with a few of the categories on that list - "glib", "impulsive", etc. I usually think of a psychopath as someone who is emotionally unstable and incapable of feeling empathy toward others, both of which do appear on that list in one form or another. It does seem surprising that 1% of the population would score high on that measure.

You’re saying that dominant biological tendencies should be labeled “universal natural rights". But this doesn’t really answer why these dominant values - if they are indeed dominant - should be given that title. Why does dominance hold such a special place? Just because the most people have them, why should they win the trophy rather than those of the minority group? Does fewer numbers mean losing the game of the “correct” morals?

I don't really have a good anwer to the question without positing a concept of "morals" which sort of includes the answer (I think this is why the natural-righters call it a "nature" after all). Undoubtedly there are better moral theorists than I.

I see people behaving in various ways, sometimes with honesty, sometimes with prudence, sometimes with compassion, and sometimes with callousness and cruelty. For some reason I think these things are important, and that other people instinctively feel they are important as well, Micha's skepticism about rape notwithstanding. They actually seem to the sort of thing I would think should be universal to intelligence - that the categories of thought they represent should be present in aliens from Mars as well as in the guy next door. That's the sense in which I regard them as "objective". This is also probably not quite right, but I call them "natural" for approximately the same reason I call the equation "F = ma" natural. Both of them represent general laws which arise from the nature of objects. A human mind grasps the abstraction that the rate of change of momentum should be identical to the force on an ideal object, and similarly the human mind seems equipped (whether through God or evolution or whatever) to also grasp concepts like "theft is wrong", or "I should help my friends", etc. I don't think this entails the absolute prohibitions against trade-offs ("lexicographic orders") which Micha and Patri complain about a lot. For example, I speculated on another thread that property rights might be merely means to a more fundamental value (like "human life" or something), so that in some rare cases property has to be violated for some purpose. However I don't pretend to have a full, rigorous understanding of my own ethics, or of the deontological ethics frequently criticized on this site.