Ask a Question 11.

I haven’t done one of these for a while. But to compensate, there are three questions. Well, one of them is not as much a question as a compliment. And what better reason to publish something, I ask you??

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Name: kenshikenji
Website: http://egoutilitarianism.wordpress.com
Comment: hello, i listened to a FDR podcast debate with you and stephan about UPB. We share the same criticisms of molyneux. The primary mistake with stephan is he conflates normative and positive claims when he sets out on his “proof”. Would like to compare your analysis with mine on UPB and was wondering if you would be interested in critiquing my philosophy and definition set. I think you will find my defintion of morality and property very logically consistent.

I’m afraid I couldn’t really make heads of tails of your explanation. There seems to be no explanation for the crucial term “maximizing self existence,” for one thing. It’s all very conceptual and ethereal.

I did want to correct one thing, though. In this, you criticize Labor Theory of Value, which is something I’ve written a lot about:

“The Labor Theory of Value says the value of good is derived from the labor inputs that went into that goods production. This is wrong because it is the relative value of a good that determines how much labor and other resources go into producing that good. If value were truly determined by labor inputs, producers would never be concerned with making a profit or avoiding loss since they would be guaranteed to recoup all the cost of producing that good. You dont see the vast majority of goods that arent brought to market because they were thought to be unprofitable.”

That’s just a more conceptual version of the mudpile argument, which I’ve already discussed as a misunderstanding of the relation between personal preference and economic value. Economic value is not directly related to personal preference, but preferences in society do dictate whether a product has any economic value or not.

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Name: Amanda
Comment: I noticed you have radical ideas about gender on your blog, which is great, but it seems you follow the current ‘radfem’ idea of sexuality, which is that the current culture of sexual orientation is rather beyond criticism. I wanted to suggest some reading to you that might bring some awareness of the original radical feminist (and gay lib) critique of the culture of sexual orientation. I apologize if you’ve read this all before (I read you are not an avid reader so I will suggest only relevant passages): Andrea Dworkin Woman-Hating: Chapter 8 and 9, Dworkin Our Blood part 1 and 9. Which can be downloaded free here: http://radfem.org/category/andrea-dworkin/
All very short.
Please disregard this is if it is not relevant to your blog or is uninteresting, only I find the few times Dworkin is mentioned among radfems it is to invoke her anti-pornography ideals, and that her other ideas have nearly been forgotten. Plus, I may have interpreted wrong, but I think her writing assumes determinism to an extent almost every other feminist work does not, and seems to actually be quite hostile to the concept of free-will and choice. And yes you will read her “defending” transexualism, bestiality and incest (which I imagine is what has repelled radfems)
Also Stoltenberg’s infamous Refusing to be a Man is an interesting book all around in and assumes determinism but part II is particularly relevant.
Sorry again if this concept is not relevant to your blog our congruent with your ideals. (if ever you make a post in relation to this comment please do not list my name or e-mail address as I have faced much abuse and scorn from radfems and lesbian separatists for advocating Dworkin’s call to pansexuality. Not to mention the horror show [which I realized then as now is totally understandable] I unleashed when I supported her analysis of incest.)

No, I don’t agree that sexual orientation is beyond criticism. I don’t mind wading into controversial topics, as long as I think they’re important and relevant to my usual subjects. In this case, I don’t really think it would be worth it.

My basic position is that all claims that a specific human behavior is innate should be rejected immediately unless we get strong scientific evidence to support it. Evolutionary psychology has shown that it’s ridiculously easy to posit plausible sounding just-so stories that are completely unsupported by facts. I also don’t believe that sexual orientation is a “choice” any more than I believe anything else is a “choice.” So both explanations are very implausible to me.

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Name: Natalia
Comment: Excuse me if this is the wrong place to comment but I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for your fantastic writing. I love your calm and rational style and am grateful for your voice. I have learned a lot from reading your blog and found the posts on transgender the most interesting. I am not such an eloquent thinker myself and you have articulated ideas for me that I have been grappling with for a while now. Thank you Thank you Thank you!
Best wishes,
Natalia

Thank you very much! I’m glad you like the blog. If I can help you “get” something, then all the better.

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Keep sending in those questions!

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