Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

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tbieter
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Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by tbieter » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:37 pm

http://www.akira.ruc.dk/~fkt/filosofi/A ... espect.pdf
I solicit your comments on this article.

tbieter
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by tbieter » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:32 pm

tbieter wrote:http://www.akira.ruc.dk/~fkt/filosofi/A ... espect.pdf
I solicit your comments on this article.
WASHINGTON — President Obama sought to revive the issue of growing income equality on Wednesday, saying it restricts economic mobility and threatens to shrink the middle class.

"I believe this is the defining challenge of our time," Obama said in a speech at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress, a pro-Obama think tank. "It drives everything I do in this office."
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/poli ... s/3867747/

Frankfurt is a philosopher.

Obama is a politician.

artisticsolution
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by artisticsolution » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:02 pm

I think there are many difficult decisions to make as a politician. And Obama has had plenty. The thing is that there is no way to always make "correct" decisions as most problems dealing with an inferior world are basically tarnished with an outcome of "damned if you do and damned if you don't."

That being said, I think Obama is one of the most thoughtful kind people I have ever known. And I would like to think that it is the same way that I would based my decisions if I was president. (Mind you none of us can know what he knows.)

My point in all of this...is regarding the things we do know about him. His kindnesses in his decisions.

I am a firm believer that you can't do the wrong moral thing and expect a good moral outcome. It just doesn't make sense. Try to help the poor directly? Morally good. Try to help the poor by giving rich more money? Morally bad.

Try to give human beings a better life by welcoming them into your country? Morally good. Try to kick people out of your country because you think they are bringing you down. Morally bad.

It's as simply as that down the entire list of do's and don'ts.

The reason people don't like the simple facts of right and wrong is because they are self serving. And the funny thing is all the fighting in the world only proves time and time again that it is not in their best interest to be morally bad/self serving.

I know discerning between right and wrong is hard...but here is a general rule of thumb...if you would not like to be in the persons shoes who you are trying to punish...then the thing you want to do is morally wrong.

Obama understands how to discern between right and wrong.

But like I said...there are times when any decision you make is wrong. And no I am not talking about burgdahl.....that was a morally correct decision. If you can save someone it is morally wrong to let them die. Unfortunately, you can't save everyone.
Last edited by artisticsolution on Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Bill Wiltrack
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by Bill Wiltrack » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:02 pm

.




There is a game changer coming
that you don't see yet.


A revolution that will change things in ways you cannot even imagine yey.


It's called The Third Industrial Revolution.




...near zero marginal costs; The end of capitalism.





.

morganna swish
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by morganna swish » Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:32 pm

tbieter wrote:http://www.akira.ruc.dk/~fkt/filosofi/A ... espect.pdf
I solicit your comments on this article.
I'd welcome more information before I decide to click on.
A brief outline perhaps ?

artisticsolution
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by artisticsolution » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:32 pm

Basically Frankfurt thinks that there is no intrinsic moral value on humans being treated equal. His argument is weak as it's all based upon his feelings and not on any real proof of how we should live as far as what we should do to benefit most. His argument is the same ol argument you hear from the right that says..."hey...look at this one poor happy person...who are we to take away his happy poverty...and it would be immoral of us to do so."

Personally, I look at it like this...If a person is born blind and happy, does that mean that we should never pursue the technology to restore sight? Okay, so he is happy blind....does that mean that he would be unhappy with sight? Who knows...that is not the point. The point is it is better to be with sight than without. Just as it is better to be fed than go hungry. The fact that we can be happy either way is not the point. What is the point is that human nature strive to better itself.

That in nutshell is morality. To strive to be a better person....and I don't think you get there by actively watching someone go hungry when you have more than enough to see to it he is fed....happiness or not.

Conservatives can spin it all they want. That argument that Frankfurt makes is on the wrong side of morality because it is self serving. All he is doing is making himself feel better about his immorality. He is not trying to strive to be a better human.

the Hessian
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by the Hessian » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:51 pm

artisticsolution wrote:Basically Frankfurt thinks that there is no intrinsic moral value on humans being treated equal.
His thesis is actually that there is no intrinsic moral value in the egalitarian ideal.
artisticsolution wrote:His argument is weak as it's all based upon his feelings and not on any real proof
His argument seems to be based on logic, such that it seems to be nonsensical to derive moral value judgements from relative characteristics rather than substantive ones. In your example of a blind person, for example, the egalitarian ideal is upheld if everyone in the world blinds themselves in response to the presence of the blind person. Surely that doesn't make sense? If blindness is "bad," then it is bad on substantive grounds...it doesn't magically become bad because other people can see, and doesn't magically become good when others lose their sight. You can continue the example any number of ways: if living in poverty is bad, it is not bad only if someone else is not living in poverty, it is bad period. If being disrespected is bad, it is not only bad if someone else is not being disrespected, and it doesn't become OK as long as everyone else is being disrespected in an equal way.

It's open to interpretation whether his argument is strong or weak; I just think you are misrepresenting it.
artisticsolution wrote:That argument that Frankfurt makes is on the wrong side of morality because it is self serving. All he is doing is making himself feel better about his immorality. He is not trying to strive to be a better human.
His argument that the ideal of equality is not a valid grounding for morality is not a support for inequality. His example of the division of a cake amongst 10 people should make this clear. In Berlin's hypotehtical example, we feel that the unequal distribution of the cake would be wrong, and Berlin mobilizes this to validate the ideal of equality. Frankfurt says that what the scenario demonstrates, instead, is the more valid moral ground of respect. In the hypothetical example, we have zero context about the situation or any of the people in it. To arbitrarily divide the cake unequally offends us not because it violates the ideal of equality, but because it violates the ideal of basic respect. But is it impossible to think of context where it might not be bad to divide the cake unevenly?

Kinda reminds me of another thread on this forum, where an argument is raging about censorship and the promotion of pediophilia. Someone is complaining that they are not being treated equally in comparison to the other members in terms of what they can say, and how the mods respond to his posts. Others see context, and argue the ideal of equality that this person is trying to mobilize in their defense lacks the sufficient moral ground he is trying to give it.

morganna swish
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by morganna swish » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:32 pm

artisticsolution wrote:Basically Frankfurt thinks that there is no intrinsic moral value on humans being treated equal. His argument is weak as it's all based upon his feelings and not on any real proof of how we should live as far as what we should do to benefit most. His argument is the same ol argument you hear from the right that says..."hey...look at this one poor happy person...who are we to take away his happy poverty...and it would be immoral of us to do so."

Personally, I look at it like this...If a person is born blind and happy, does that mean that we should never pursue the technology to restore sight? Okay, so he is happy blind....does that mean that he would be unhappy with sight? Who knows...that is not the point. The point is it is better to be with sight than without. Just as it is better to be fed than go hungry. The fact that we can be happy either way is not the point. What is the point is that human nature strive to better itself.

That in nutshell is morality. To strive to be a better person....and I don't think you get there by actively watching someone go hungry when you have more than enough to see to it he is fed....happiness or not.

Conservatives can spin it all they want. That argument that Frankfurt makes is on the wrong side of morality because it is self serving. All he is doing is making himself feel better about his immorality. He is not trying to strive to be a better human.
Thanks for your personal interpretation. I only really wanted a brief outline of actual article; the author's stated views and arguments. Also, I kinda enjoy a few quotes - sometimes they whet my appetite :wink:

The article link doesn't work - and when I looked elsewhere, it seems to be a chapter from a book.

artisticsolution
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by artisticsolution » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:33 pm

Thank you Hessian...for your thoughtful reply.

H:His thesis is actually that there is no intrinsic moral value in the egalitarian ideal.

AS: Yes, he says that but I have a problem when someone doesn't look at all avenues before they got to the bottom line. To me it reads very patriarchal. It seems as if he is telling us how to think rather than explaining the reasons why he thinks as he does.

H:His argument seems to be based on logic, such that it seems to be nonsensical to derive moral value judgements from relative characteristics rather than substantive ones. In your example of a blind person, for example, the egalitarian ideal is upheld if everyone in the world blinds themselves in response to the presence of the blind person. Surely that doesn't make sense? If blindness is "bad," then it is bad on substantive grounds...it doesn't magically become bad because other people can see, and doesn't magically become good when others lose their sight. You can continue the example any number of ways: if living in poverty is bad, it is not bad only if someone else is not living in poverty, it is bad period. If being disrespected is bad, it is not only bad if someone else is not being disrespected, and it doesn't become OK as long as everyone else is being disrespected in an equal way.

AS: I see this argument as a distraction from the truth. It's almost a tautology because it says nothing. Of course it is true but it is meaningless to say it. The real issue still stands that 'blindness is bad' per se...it matters not who is blind and who is not. It matters only that there are blind and that it is better to have sight than to be blind.

I think you and frankfurt confusingly misrepresent the "egalitarian ideal". The EI does not want the 'whole world' blind. That is the prevailing rhetoric from the right today. Rather....if the EI had it's way...there would be no blind. They would be no poverty. There would be no disrespect. In fact, he EI is responsible for the things you and I take for granted today...such as clean water and air (which is still an on going battle since the right fight 'go green' regulation to this day) Civil rights (Which the right fight 'gay rights' to this day), hell....even the right to have pain relief in childbirth was a fight! There are so many comforts we enjoy to this day because of the EI I can even list them all!.

H:It's open to interpretation whether his argument is strong or weak; I just think you are misrepresenting it.

AS: If I am misrepresenting it...it is because I have seen no 'good' come of this argument throughout our times. I am using the logic that is we are to have a discussion about morality, shouldn't it be about what is moral and what is not? Why does it always have to revert into an argument about how we can spin the EI ideal into an immoral conundrum while thinking of a way we can justify our self centered nature into being the new morality.

H:His argument that the ideal of equality is not a valid grounding for morality is not a support for inequality. His example of the division of a cake amongst 10 people should make this clear. In Berlin's hypotehtical example, we feel that the unequal distribution of the cake would be wrong, and Berlin mobilizes this to validate the ideal of equality. Frankfurt says that what the scenario demonstrates, instead, is the more valid moral ground of respect. In the hypothetical example, we have zero context about the situation or any of the people in it. To arbitrarily divide the cake unequally offends us not because it violates the ideal of equality, but because it violates the ideal of basic respect. But is it impossible to think of context where it might not be bad to divide the cake unevenly?

AS: Sure, there are all sorts of reason we could probably come up with to divide the cake...but that I would be wary of who we gave that ultimate decision to. There are many people who truly believe that the patriarch of the family should get it simply because they have the ultimate power. In fact, in the past...we even sacrificed humans in order to 'feed the Gods". So when I hear this type of argument, that is...without a deeper understanding of all the facts of human nature ((which would be so complex it would make Frankfurts head hurt to even begin to apply his theory to real life practical situations and all their consequences) I shudder inside as to the stupidity of humans to shake their head in agreement in this argument which taken out of context can actually promote more harm than good.

H:Kinda reminds me of another thread on this forum, where an argument is raging about censorship and the promotion of pediophilia. Someone is complaining that they are not being treated equally in comparison to the other members in terms of what they can say, and how the mods respond to his posts. Others see context, and argue the ideal of equality that this person is trying to mobilize in their defense lacks the sufficient moral ground he is trying to give it.

AS: In a land of free speech it is for everyone to say anything they please. That doesn't mean there won't be consequences as others are just as free to voice there opinion as well and some of those opinions will be less than welcome. Why does the pedophilia think he should be the only one to have free speech?

And if he is to be censored in a forum owned by someone else, what makes him think he has the right to stay if the owner thinks he should leave? Would he welcome the people who are against him into his own house? Probably not. I think he should take this into consideration. But rarely do people with an agenda think of anyone but themselves.

Wyman
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by Wyman » Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:21 pm

In his desire for equality, there is no affirmation by a person of himself. On the
contrary, a concern for being equal to others tends to alienate
people from themselves. It leads them to define their goals in
terms that are set by considerations other than the specific
requirements of their own personal nature and of their own
circumstances. It tends to distract them from recognizing that
their most authentic ambitions are those that derive from the
character of their own lives and not those that are imposed
upon them by the conditions in which others happen to live
Reminds me of a watered down Nietzsche?
The slave's revolt in morals begins with this, that ressentiment itself becomes creative and gives birth to values: the ressentiment of those who are denied the real reaction, that of the deed, and who compensate with an imaginary revenge. Whereas all noble morality grows out of a triumphant affirmation of oneself, slave morality immediately says No to what comes from outside, to what is different, to what is not oneself; and this No is its creative deed. This reversal of the valuepositing glance - this necessary direction outward instead of back to oneself - is of the nature of ressentiment....

morganna swish
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by morganna swish » Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:08 pm

For the love of Harry and Sally, would someone please supply a workable link.

I feel like I've stepped into an ongoing discussion group where all the members have already got the book, the t-shirt, and a flying start...

Not fair, not fair - :cry:

artisticsolution
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by artisticsolution » Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:16 pm

Lol M....so sorry! I would provide another link if I knew how!

http://www.akira.ruc.dk/~fkt/filosofi/A ... espect.pdf

All I know how to do it copy and paste the link same as above.

I even tried to copy and paste the words....to no avail.

It is titled equality and respect by harry frankfurt. I think its the first chapter if that helps?

the Hessian
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by the Hessian » Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:29 pm

Wyman wrote:
In his desire for equality, there is no affirmation by a person of himself. On the
contrary, a concern for being equal to others tends to alienate
people from themselves. It leads them to define their goals in
terms that are set by considerations other than the specific
requirements of their own personal nature and of their own
circumstances. It tends to distract them from recognizing that
their most authentic ambitions are those that derive from the
character of their own lives and not those that are imposed
upon them by the conditions in which others happen to live
Reminds me of a watered down Nietzsche?
The slave's revolt in morals begins with this, that ressentiment itself becomes creative and gives birth to values: the ressentiment of those who are denied the real reaction, that of the deed, and who compensate with an imaginary revenge. Whereas all noble morality grows out of a triumphant affirmation of oneself, slave morality immediately says No to what comes from outside, to what is different, to what is not oneself; and this No is its creative deed. This reversal of the valuepositing glance - this necessary direction outward instead of back to oneself - is of the nature of ressentiment....
Yes, yes, yes. Neitzsche was the ultimate anti-egalitarian, and pretty much anyone is watered-down in comparison.

the Hessian
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by the Hessian » Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:43 pm

artisticsolution wrote:The real issue still stands that 'blindness is bad' per se...it matters not who is blind and who is not. It matters only that there are blind and that it is better to have sight than to be blind.
But that is exactly his point.

Wyman
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Re: Equality and Respect by Harry Frankfurt

Post by Wyman » Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:21 pm

The fact that we can be happy either way is not the point. What is the point is that human nature strive to better itself.
Why do you get to tell others what the point is? Why not try putting forward an argument, rather than saying 'thus is so, that's not the point...?'
[His argument is] on the wrong side of morality because it is self serving
That's an entirely circular statement. It assumes that morality has to do with altruism (and egalitarianism = a form of altruism).

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